Effect of stressful life events on changes in smoking among the French: Longitudinal findings from GAZEL

Sara L. Tamers, Cassandra Okechukwu, Miguel Marino, Alice Guéguen, Marcel Goldberg, Marie Zins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Changes in life events may play a contributing role in changes in smoking behaviors. The objective was to examine the impact of stressful life events (SLEs) on smoking among French adults. Methods: We examined smoking prevalence in 20 625 employees of the French GAZEL cohort for up to 5 years before and after a SLE during three time periods (years -1 vs. -5; years +1 vs. -1; years +5 vs. +1). Repeated measures analysis of time series data indexed to events were used, employing generalized estimating equations. Results: For women, comparing 1 year after vs. 1 year before SLEs, decreased odds of smoking were found for employment promotion (OR: 0.80; 95% CI = 0.67-0.95), marriage (OR: 0.57; 95% CI = 0.48-0.68) and divorce (OR: 0.78; 95% CI = 0.68-0.90). Comparing 5 years after to 1 year after SLEs, women had decreased odds of smoking for important purchase (OR: 0.87; 95% CI = 0.79-0.96), children leaving home (OR: 0.83; 95% CI = 0.74-0.93), retirement (OR: 0.73; 95% CI = 0.64-0.83) and death of loved one (OR: 0.86; 95% CI = 0.79-0.93). For men, decreased odds of smoking were observed in all three time periods for all SLEs except when comparing 1 year before to 5 years before marriage (OR: 1.66; 95% CI = 1.09-2.52) and divorce (OR: 1.49; 95% CI = 1.25-1.77). Conclusion: Time surrounding SLEs during which individuals are susceptible to changing smoking behaviors may be an important consideration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-715
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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