Free Content Smoking cessation in older adults

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BACKGROUND: Older smokers are often not encouraged to quit smoking due to the erroneous idea that it is too late for such interventions.

OBJECTIVE: To compare smoking cessation rates among older and younger treatment seekers, and to evaluate whether age is an obstacle to smoking cessation.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Smokers (n = 987) were submitted to the same behavioural programme plus pharmacotherapy at the Smoking Cessation Clinic of Hospital Sao Lucas, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from July 2004 to June 2009. Quit rates were evaluated at 2, 6 and 12 months. Abstinence was confirmed by exhaled carbon monoxide < 10 ppm. Volunteers were grouped by age <60 and ≥60 years.

RESULTS: Abstinence rates (±SD) in the younger group were respectively 57.1% (±1.9), 46.8% (±2.1) and 43.5% (±2.7) at 2, 6 and 12 months of follow-up. Rates for the ≥60 year group were respectively 67.4% (±4.3), 52.3% (±5.4) and 53.3% (±5.4; log rank test, P = 0.073). The difference was also not statistically significant using Cox regression (adjusted HR 0.90, 95%CI 0.66–1.22, P = 0.48).

CONCLUSIONS: In this real-world setting, treatment for smoking cessation led to similar abstinence rates in older and younger smokers. These results may have implications for clinical practice and smoking cessation policies for low- and middle-income countries such as Brazil.

Keywords: aged; smoking cessation; tobacco dependence; treatment effectiveness

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Hospital São Lucas da Pontifícia Universidade Católica Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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