Wednesday, June 18, 2014
The National Institutes of Health has released a new Web resource to help older adults stop smoking. Quitting Smoking for Older Adults, a new topic from NIHSeniorHealth, offers videos, worksheets, interactive features, strategies, quizzes, and more for older smokers who want to or are thinking of quitting.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in the United States, responsible for almost half a million deaths each year. In addition to lung and other cancers, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD. The recent Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress,provides new data that links smoking to bone disease, cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction. Research shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness. Although the rates of smoking have declined in recent years for all age groups, nearly 10 percent of adults over 65 - almost 4 million older Americans - continue to smoke.
“Most older adults know that smoking is harmful, and many have tried unsuccessfully to quit, often a number of times. But stopping smoking is a difficult goal that still eludes many older smokers,” says Erik Augustson, program director of the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which developed the topic for NIHSeniorHealth. “This new topic, which offers a mix of tips and tools geared to the needs and experiences of older smokers, is an important, easy-to-use resource that can benefit those trying to quit for the first time as well as those who have tried before.”
NCI, which based the topic on its resource, Clear Horizons: A Quit Smoking Guide for People 50 and Older, has also included information about the challenges and advantages of quitting when you’re older, smoking’s effect on medications, and how to handle withdrawal, cravings, and more.