Smoking characteristics of a homeless population

Kola Okuyemi, Niaman Nazir, Jasjit S. Ahluwalia, James Butler, Ken Resnicow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


When addressing tobacco control and smoking cessation measures, the homeless have been perceived as a difficult to reach population. The purpose of this study was to examine the smoking characteristics of a homeless population. Data were derived from a larger study that examined smoking among inner-city residents. Homeless smokers (n = 107) were compared to nonhomeless smokers (n = 491) on sociodemographics, smoking characteristics, motivation to quit, and smoking cessation experiences. Results showed that homeless smokers were more likely to be white, smoke more cigarettes per day, initiate smoking at a younger age, and have a longer smoking history. Knowledge about the risks of smoking and the benefits of quitting was equally high in both groups. Homeless smokers were less likely to be preparing to quit smoking compared to nonhomeless smokers. These factors place homeless smokers at increased risk of tobacco-related diseases. Programs are needed to design and test effective cessation interventions for homeless smokers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-231
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute (KO7 CA90334), the Cancer Research Foundation of America (Dr. Okuyemi), and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars award (Dr. Ahluwalia, #032586).


  • Homeless
  • Smoking cessation
  • Smoking characteristics


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