BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for several chronic oxidative diseases that can be ameliorated by antioxidants.
OBJECTIVES: This study identified the typical dietary intakes and the major food group contributors of the antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E by smoking status.
DESIGN: The 1994-1996 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) provided the current sample (n = 6749), who were categorized as non- (n = 3231), former (n = 1684), and current (n = 1834) smokers. In the CSFII, individuals' food intakes were estimated with two 24-h dietary recalls. Data were analyzed by using a chi-square test with a simultaneous Fisher's z test, analysis of variance with Scheffe's test, multivariate analysis of covariance, and analysis of covariance with Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons.
RESULTS: The sample consisted of 3707 men and 3042 women. Current smokers tended to be younger with less education and lower incomes than nonsmokers and former smokers. The average body mass index (in kg/m(2)) of current smokers was 25.8, the lowest of the 3 groups. Current smokers had the lowest dietary antioxidant intake. Fatty foods such as luncheon meats, condiments and salad dressings, and ground beef contributed more to the antioxidant intakes of current smokers than to those of the other 2 groups, whereas fruit and vegetables contributed less. Current smokers consumed the fewest numbers of servings of all nutrient-bearing groups in the food guide pyramid, except the meat group.
CONCLUSION: Future interventions should target the clustering of cigarette smoking and other unhealthy lifestyle habits, eg, an imprudent diet.