Smoking is associated with impaired health-related quality of life (HRQL) across all populations. Because decline in lung function and risk for COPD are lower in New Mexican Hispanic smokers compared to their non-Hispanic White (NHW) counterparts, we investigated whether HRQL differs between these two racial-ethnic groups and determined the factors that contribute to this difference.
We compared the score results of the Medical Outcomes Short-Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) in 378 Hispanics and 1,597 non-Hispanic whites (NHW) enrolled into the Lovelace Smokers’ Cohort (LSC) from New Mexico. The associations of race-ethnicity with SGRQ and SF-36 were assessed using multivariable regression.
Physical functioning (difference -4.5, P=0.0008) but not mental health or role emotional domains of the SF-36 was worse in Hispanic smokers than their NWH counterparts in multivariable analysis. SGRQ total score and activity and impact subscores were worse in Hispanic (vs. NHW) smokers after adjustment for education level, current smoking, pack-years smoked, body mass index, number of comorbidities, and forced expiratory volume in one second % predicted (difference range, 2.9 to 5.0, all comparisons P≤0.001). While the difference in the SGRQ activity domain was above the clinically important difference of 4 units, the total score was not.
New Mexican Hispanic smokers have clinically relevant lower HRQL than their NHW counterparts. A perception of diminished physical functioning and impairment in daily-life activities contribute to the poorer HRQL among Hispanics.