Conflict of Interest: None
Associations Between Frequent Headaches, Persistent Smoking, and Attempts to Quit
Article first published online: 24 JAN 2008
© 2008 the Authors
Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain
Volume 48, Issue 4, pages 545–552, April 2008
How to Cite
Waldie, K. E., McGee, R., Reeder, A. I. and Poulton, R. (2008), Associations Between Frequent Headaches, Persistent Smoking, and Attempts to Quit. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 48: 545–552. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4610.2007.01037.x
- Issue published online: 24 JAN 2008
- Article first published online: 24 JAN 2008
- Accepted for publication June 27, 2007.
- tension-type headache;
Background.— Recent studies have found a strong relationship between tobacco smoking and headache pain. It remains unclear whether smoking behavior leads to headache or visa versa, mainly due to the cross-sectional nature of the majority of this research.
Objective.— To help clarify the direction of the relation between smoking and frequent headaches in a representative cohort study.
Design and Methods.— Members of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (N = 980) were asked about their cigarette smoking and headache history at ages 11 and 13 (childhood), age 15 (mid-adolescence), and age 26 (adulthood). Both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between smoking and headache status were examined using logistic regression.
Results.— During mid-adolescence, the likelihood of frequent headaches doubled for smokers relative to nonsmokers (OR: 2.16, 95% CI: 1.39-3.35). Smoking did not increase the risk of developing headaches in adulthood, however. In contrast, individuals who suffered from frequent headaches during mid-adolescence were 2 times more likely to smoke in adulthood than those without headache (OR: 2.20, 95% CI: 1.3-3.7), after controlling for sex and family socioeconomic status. Attempts to quit smoking were significantly more difficult for migraine sufferers with a history of headache than for those with tension-type headache.
Conclusions.— Frequent headaches during mid-adolescence appear to increase the risk of daily smoking in adolescence and adulthood. These individuals also have a more difficult time quitting than their headache-free peers.