Current smoking as a marker of a high-risk behavioral profile after myocardial infarction

Diann E. Gaalema, Hypatia A. Bolívar, Sherrie Khadanga, Jeffrey S. Priest, Stephen T. Higgins, Philip A. Ades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Continued smoking following myocardial infarction (MI) is strongly associated with increased morbidity and mortality. Patients who continue to smoke may also engage in other behaviors that exacerbate risk. This study sought to characterize the risk profile of a national sample of individuals with previous MI who currently smoke. Data were taken from the 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (United States), with 4.2% of the sample reporting a past MI (N = 26,004). Participants were classified by smoking status (current/former/never) and compared on medical comorbidities and the clustering of modifiable behaviors relevant for secondary prevention (smoking, poor nutrition, problematic alcohol use, physical inactivity, medication adherence). Current smokers were more likely to report other comorbidities including stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, physical limitations, and poor mental health. Smokers were also less likely to report taking blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and less likely to attend cardiac rehabilitation (examined in a subset of the sample, N = 2181). Current smoking remained an independent predictor of other health-related behaviors even when controlling for age, sex, race, educational attainment, and other comorbidities. In the modifiable risk-factor behavior cluster analysis, the most common pattern among current smokers was having two risk factors, smoking plus one additional risk factor, whereas the most common pattern was zero risk factors among never or former-smokers. Physical inactivity was the most common additional risk factor across smoking statuses. Current smoking is associated with multiple comorbidities and should be considered a marker for a high-risk behavioral profile among patients with a history of MI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106245
JournalPreventive Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Comorbidities
  • Health-related behaviors
  • Risk factors
  • Secondary prevention
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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