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Chest. 1990 Mar;97(3):547-53.

The older smoker. Status, challenges and opportunities for intervention.

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  • 1Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia 19111.


Smoking is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality among older adults. Cessation of smoking benefits older adults almost immediately. Little is known, however, about how older adults quit and how to help them. No smoking cessation programs have been designed for this population. Here we report the findings of a random survey of American Association of Retired Persons members conducted to learn more about older smokers, their smoking and health characteristics, their quitting motivations and experiences, and the role of physicians' advice to quit. We obtained data on 339 current smokers aged 50 to 102. Current smokers were more likely to be heavy, highly addicted smokers. They also reported more smoking-related symptoms and conditions and fewer preventive tests and check-ups than never-smokers or former smokers. Although 44 percent of smokers were interested in quitting, only 39 percent reported that they had been advised to stop smoking by their physicians in the previous year. Physicians who treat older patients can have a significant impact on helping them to stop smoking by giving them a strong recommendation to quit and by providing appropriate interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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