Non-smoking status and physical activity have, individually, been shown to be associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The objective of this study was to assess whether the relationship between smoking status and HRQoL is modified or influenced by physical activity.
Data were extracted from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey dataset (N=332,680) in 2015. Logistic regression models were used to address study objectives. Health-related quality of life (HRQoL), measured using eight domains (general health, physical health, mental health, activity limitations, pain, depressive symptoms, anxiety, and vitality), was regressed on smoking status without and with adjustment for age, race, gender, education, marital status, income, employment, healthcare coverage, comorbidity, body mass index, flu vaccination, alcohol use, and physical activity. Smoking status by physical activity interaction term was added to the adjusted model and evaluated for significance.
There were significant smoking status by physical activity interaction effects on general health, physical health, activity limitations, and depressive symptoms domains. Among those who exercised, relative differences in the odds of a high HRQoL was smaller between former smokers and non-smokers and larger between current smokers and non-smokers when compared to those who did not exercise. Similarly, there were sharper relative differences between those who exercised and those who did not exercise among former smokers than among current smokers.
Smokers who successfully quit smoking (former smokers) may benefit from enhanced HRQoL that tend towards those of non-smokers if they adopt physical activity in their daily routine.