Background: Behavioral economics theories suggest that a preference for delayed benefits promotes positive behavioral change, a concept relevant to both smoking cessation and community-based exercise regimens for claudication. Given the high rate of smoking among older veterans, we were interested in examining the association between smoking cessation, exercise regimen adherence, and preferences for delayed versus immediate benefits. Methods: Between April 2017 and March 2018, patients with claudication at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston, Texas, received questionnaires collecting information on social, behavioral, and psychological characteristics. A dual validation system, via the electronic medical record and survey data, measured the primary outcome—smoking cessation versus current smoking. Self-reported physical activity was measured through the validated Ainsworth's compendium of Physical Activities and binary survey questions. The Walking Impairment and Barratt's Impulsivity Questionnaires measured subjective symptom severity and behavioral economics factors, respectively. Multivariable, logistic regression models identified significant associations. Results: The survey was mailed to 500 patients who met the eligibility criteria. We received responses from 148 individuals (30%), and 67 of 141 (48%) indicated that they had successfully quit smoking. In unadjusted comparisons, the median cognitive complexity score in the smoking cessation group was higher than that in the current smoking group. A greater proportion of patients who reported walking for exercise (n = 46) also reported successful smoking cessation (28/46, 61%). Among those who were not walking for exercise (n = 88), more individuals reported current smoking (49/88, 56%). In the multivariable model, individuals who had successfully stopped smoking were older (odds ratio [OR]: 7.59, P < 0.001), more likely to walk for exercise (OR: 3.94, P = 0.009), more interested in the future than in the present (OR: 1.73, P = 0.030), and more likely to regularly save money (OR: 3.49, P = 0.046). Conclusions: We found that participants who reported successful smoking cessation were more likely to report walking for exercise. Our findings suggest that adherence to walking may be less challenging for patients who have already successfully implemented and continue to implement another beneficial health behavior (smoking cessation). Patients with claudication who are current smokers may be less likely to adopt exercise recommendations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine