Dietary differences in smokers and nonsmokers from two southeastern New England communities

Janice B. McPhillips, Charles B. Eaton, Kim M. Gans, Carol A. Derby, Thomas M. Lasater, Joyce L. McKenney, Richard A. Carleton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Objective Previous studies based on 24-hour dietary recall data have shown that smokers tend to consume less healthful diets than nonsmokers. We tested this hypothesis using data from food frequency questionnaires (FFQs) in a group of men and women. Design Characteristics of smokers and nonsmokers were compared using data collected from a cross-sectional household health survey. Subjects Adults aged 18 through 64 years from two communities in southeastern New England were randomly selected for the study and interviewed in their homes by trained personnel. The interview included questions on demographic and behavioral characteristics. Height, weight, blood pressure, and serum lipids were measured using standard protocols. The Willett FFQ was completed by 1,608 of 2,531 eligible respondents who made up our study sample. Statistical analyses performed Respondents were categorized as current cigarette smokers or nonsmokers. Demographic, behavioral, physiologic, and dietary characteristics were compared between smokers and nonsmokers by analysis of covariance with age as the covariate. Results Eligible respondents who did not complete the FFQ differed from respondents with respect to age, gender, smoking prevalence, and several other demographic characteristics. Smokers consumed more energy, fat, alcohol, and caffeine than nonsmokers. Smoking status was inversely associated with intake of vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, folate, and iron among women, whereas differences were smaller and not significant among men. Women who smoked consumed fewer servings of fruits and vegetables than nonsmokers, but this trend was not noted in men. The association between diet and smoking was only slightly diminished by multivariate adjustment for age, income, regular exercise, marital status, and working status but most clinically relevant associations remained. The interaction between gender and smoking was not statistically significant for most dietary variables. Conclusions These results suggest that health promotion messages targeted to smokers should include dietary instructions, especially for women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Dietetic Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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