Older Smokers

Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: PHS Clinical Practice Guideline

Smokers over the age of 65 can benefit from quitting smoking and staying abstinent.

Smoking cessation in older smokers can reduce the risk of myocardial infarction, death from coronary heart disease, and lung cancer.

Abstinence can promote more rapid recovery from illnesses that are exacerbated by smoking and can improve cerebral circulation. Age does not appear to diminish the benefits of quitting smoking.

Smoking cessation interventions that have been effective in the general population have also been effective with older smokers. Research has demonstrated the efficacy of counseling interventions, clinician advice, buddy support programs, age-tailored self-help materials, telephone counseling, and nicotine replacement therapies in treating tobacco use and dependence in adults aged 50 years and older.

The homebound elderly may benefit especially from proactive telephone counseling.

Page last reviewed December 2012
Page originally created December 2012
Internet Citation: Older Smokers. Content last reviewed December 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/clinicians-providers/guidelines-recommendations/tobacco/older.html