Some studies have shown that smoking may lead to impairment of health-related quality of life (HRQL). Significant differences in mean scores, as measured by the 36-item short form (SF-36), have been observed between never-smokers, smokers, and ex-smokers in population surveys. Similar results were obtained employing the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire in a group of subjects older than 55 years. there
The results of general population surveys and studies including old people can be potentially influenced by unrecognized smoking-related disorders and other comorbidities. So far, no investigation has been done specifically aimed at investigating HRQL in young subjects with a short smoking history. The objective of the present study was to investigate HRQL in a selected sample of healthy young smokers.
Materials and Methods
Students from two public Brazilian universities were invited at random by the same interviewer to participate in a survey about their health status. They were initially asked to answer the HRQL SF-36 questionnaire and, only after that, complete a second form on the presence of health disorders, and use of medications, alcohol, elicit drugs, and tobacco smoking. The subjects were not aware of the final propose of the study when answering the questions. All subjects gave informed consent to participate in the study after returning the forms, and the protocol had been approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee.
HRQL was assessed with a version of the SF-36 questionnaire validated for the Portuguese language spoken in Brazil. The questionnaire is a generic instrument comprising 36 questions that cover nine health concepts: physical functioning, physical role, pain index, general health perceptions, vitality, social functioning, emotional role, mental health index, and health transition. The first four domains deal with physical aspects, and the next four reflect psychological features. In the present study, we did not evaluate the ninth component, health transition, which deals with changes in health status during the previous 12 months. Measures of the eight health domains were transformed linearly to scores in scales of 0 (the worst possible condition) to 100 (the best possible condition).