CHEST 2007: Age Affects Smoking Cessation Efforts

Health status and obstacles to quitting vary between younger and older smokers

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Younger and older smokers vary greatly in their health status and report significantly different obstacles that prevent them from quitting smoking, according to research presented this week at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians, in Chicago.

Virginia Reichert, of the Center for Tobacco Control in Great Neck, N.Y., and colleagues studied 1,909 smokers under age 65 and 143 smokers over age 65 who attended a six-week comprehensive cessation program.

Compared to older smokers, the researchers found that the younger smokers were less likely to have had a recent hospitalization (13 percent versus 23 percent), cardiac disease (38 percent versus 78 percent) or chronic obstructive lung disease and/or asthma (23 percent versus 37 percent). They also found that younger smokers were more likely to report smoking-cessation obstacles such as weight gain (30 percent versus 15 percent), stress management (59 percent versus 45 percent), fear of failure (15 percent versus 8 percent), handling social situations (24 percent versus 7 percent) and cravings (44 percent versus 36 percent). Reasons for quitting also varied by age: younger smokers were more likely to cite cigarette expense and tobacco odor while older smokers were more likely to cite pressure from their family physician and the stress of a major health problem.

"Health care providers can help improve smoking-cessation outcomes by custom-tailoring cessation services, which address the individual's unique concerns that are observed in their age group," the authors conclude.


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