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Impact of Smoking Cessation on Subsequent Pain Intensity Among Chronically Ill Veterans Enrolled in a Smoking Cessation Trial.

Bastian LA, Fish LJ, Gierisch JM, Stechuchak KM, Grambow SC, Keefe FJ. Impact of Smoking Cessation on Subsequent Pain Intensity Among Chronically Ill Veterans Enrolled in a Smoking Cessation Trial. Journal of pain and symptom management. 2015 Dec 1; 50(6):822-9.

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CONTEXT: Prior cross-sectional studies have reported greater pain intensity among persistent smokers compared with nonsmokers or former smokers; yet, few prospective studies have examined how smoking abstinence affects pain intensity. OBJECTIVES: To determine the impact of smoking cessation on subsequent pain intensity in smokers with chronic illness enrolled in a smoking cessation trial. METHODS: We recruited veteran smokers with chronic illness (heart disease, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, or hypertension) for a randomized controlled smoking cessation trial and prospectively examined pain intensity and smoking status. Participants (n = 380) were asked to rate their pain in the past week from 0 to 10 at baseline and the five-month follow-up. The primary outcome measure was self-reported pain intensity at the five-month follow-up survey. Self-reported smoking status was categorized as an abstainer if patients reported no cigarettes in the seven days before the follow-up survey. RESULTS: In unadjusted analyses, abstainers reported significantly lower pain levels at the five-month follow-up compared with patients who continued to smoke (parameter estimate = -1.07; 95% CI = -1.77, -0.36). In multivariable modeling, abstaining from cigarettes was not associated with subsequent pain intensity at five-month follow-up (parameter estimate = -0.27; 95% CI = -0.79, 0.25). CONCLUSION: Participants who were classified as abstainers did not report significantly different levels of pain intensity than patients who continued to smoke. Future studies should expand on our findings and monitor pain intensity in smoking cessation trials. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.govNCT00448344.

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