Socio-demographic factors, smoking, symptoms, morbidities and pulmonary function and quality of life in individuals with a heavy smoking history
Objective: To determine which socio-demographic, exposure, morbidity and symptom variables are associated with health-related quality of life among former and current heavy smokers. Methods: Cross sectional data from 2537 participants were studied. All participants were at ≥2% risk of developing lung cancer within 6 years. Linear and logistic regression models utilizing a multivariable fractional polynomial selection process identified variables associated with health-related quality of life, measured by the EQ-5D. Results: Upstream and downstream associations between smoking cessation and higher health-related quality of life were evident. Significant upstream associations, such as education level and current working status and were explained by the addition of morbidities and symptoms to regression models. Having arthritis, decreased forced expiratory volume in one second, fatigue, poor appetite or dyspnea were most highly and commonly associated with decreased HRQoL. Discussion: Upstream factors such as educational attainment, employment status and smoking cessation should be targeted to prevent decreased health-related quality of life. Practitioners should focus treatment on downstream factors, especially symptoms, to improve health-related quality of life.