Introduction: Blacks suffer disproportionately from the long-term health effects of smoking. Little is known about the prevalence of the early health consequences of smoking in this population or whether psychosocial factors influence the frequency of symptoms. This study investigated the prevalence and psychosocial correlates of smoking-related physical symptoms in Black smokers. Methods: Adult smokers (N = 117, 58% female, Mage = 43.0 years) who smoked at least 5 cigarettes/day completed self-administered assessments of cigarettes smoked per day, smoking duration, alcohol use, perceived stress, depressive symptoms, and smoking-related symptoms. Results: The most frequently occurring physical symptoms were shortness of breath (66%), coughing (50%), and headaches (49%). Multivariate analyses showed that smoking history, alcohol use, perceived stress, and depressive symptoms were independently related to smoking-related symptoms, even after controlling for sociodemographic variables and medical diagnoses. Discussion: The early health consequences of smoking appear to be common among Black smokers and can serve as a cue to action for cessation efforts. Alcohol use, stress, and depression appear to negatively influence the early health consequences of smoking and should be assessed routinely in treatment-seeking Black smokers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health