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Do Older People Quit Smoking for the Wrong Reasons?

Armen Hareyan's picture

Quit Smoking Reasons

Research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that elderly women are more likely to quit smoking than elderly men, while results are just the opposite for studies among younger populations.

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"Smoking cessation was also observed more frequently among elders who had recently been diagnosed with cancer," says head researcher of the study Dr. Heather E. Whitson a geriatric fellow with the Center for Aging at Duke University. "In addition, the rate of recidivism (resuming smoking) was only 16 percent among the elderly smokers who quit, whereas previous studies report relapse rates of 35-45 percent." These findings indicate that older smokers may quit smoking for different reasons than younger smokers.

The study did not directly assess the smokers' reasons for quitting, but the authors postulate that factors such as lack of transportation, poor financial situation and dementia might contribute to smoking cessation in older smokers. Regardless of reason, the cessation of smoking may lower the risk of death, even when it occurs at an advanced age.