- from pregnancy to old age
Older smokers - what we know and what we need to do
The hazards of smoking in later life are well established.
Smoking not only increases the risk of premature death,
but it also affects the health and quality of life of
older people, as they have a greater risk than their non-smoking
counterparts of being disabled by conditions that include
cancer, heart disease, COPD, circulatory problems, stroke
and cognitive decline.
There is growing evidence to suggest that health is improved
and mortality reduced among those who stop smoking after
the age of 65 years. Stopping smoking not only adds 'years
to life' but 'life to years' by preventing or reducing
disability caused by smoking-related chronic illness/disease.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that older smokers have
been identified as a priority group, and despite evidence
that intervening with older adults can be effective, a
number of studies have demonstrated that health professionals
often fail to target this population. The reasons for
this failure are unclear and require investigation. In
addition, there is currently little research-based evidence
on older smokers' views of smoking and smoking cessation
in later life.
This paper will present findings from a recently completed
study. The aim of the study was to gather data that would
inform the development of smoking cessation training to
help members of the primary care team provide older adults
(65+ years) with information and advice that would encourage
them to stop smoking.
The research approach was qualitative, gathering data
from older smokers, former smokers and members of the
primary care team. The study participants (n=61) were
recruited through General Practices in the Greater Glasgow
NHS Board Primary Care Division and the West of Scotland
The data were collected during individual, paired and
focus group interviews and were analysed using constant
School of nursing, Midwifery and Community Health,
Glasgow Caledonian University