For the past 5 years, the Oklahoma Tobacco Help Line (OKHL) has served approximately 75,000 tobacco users in the state of Oklahoma, averaging over 1200 enrolments per month in the quitline. The OKHL provides incoming and outgoing phone counselling, mailed support materials and nicotine replacement medications for eligible callers. For this study, we added four questions to the standard demographic information collected during registration with the OKHL to determine height, weight and level of weight concerns. From March through June 2008, all adult smokers (18 and older) who called the OKHL were asked the following additional questions:
- How tall are you?
- How much do you weigh?
- On a scale of 0 to 100 where 0 = Not at all concerned and 100 = Very concerned, how concerned are you about gaining weight after quitting? (WC1)
- On a scale of 0 to 100 where 0 = Not at all concerned and 100 = Very concerned, how concerned would you be if quitting smoking caused you to permanently gain 10 pounds? (WC2)
We calculated body mass index (BMI) as weight in pounds divided by the square of height in inches multiplied by a conversion factor of 703. We classified individuals as very obese, obese, overweight, normal weight and underweight according to standard BMI cut-points of greater than 35, 30–35, 25–29.9, 18.5–24.9 and < 18.5, respectively (Freedman et al., 2006
; Stunkard & Wadden, 1993
). Individuals were considered to have significant weight concerns (WC3) if they rated either of the two weight concerns questions (WC1 or WC2) as 50 or greater (Perkins, Marcus, Levine et al., 2001
We used t-test and chi-square analyses for group comparisons. Since underweight individuals represented only 3% of the participants, we considered adding them to the normal weight group for comparisons. However, analyses revealed significant differences between the groups. Compared with normal weight participants, underweight participants were more likely to be female (62.2% vs. 76.6%, p < .01), less likely to smoke for more than 10 years (82.8% vs. 75.8%, p < .05) and less likely to have weight concerns (44.7% vs. 21.1%, p < .0001). We therefore excluded the underweight population from group comparisons of the three weight groups shown in (obese, overweight, normal weight). Note, however, that we repeated the analyses with the full sample (combining the underweight and normal weight participants) in three-way comparisons and found no differences from the findings reported here.
Characteristics of Smokers Calling the Oklahoma HelpLine (N = 3,8441)