PURPOSE: There is a general perception in the medical community that older smokers [those over age 65] face similar hurdles related to nicotine addiction as do younger smokers [<65 but > 17 years of age]. We studied older smokers and compared their cessation experiences to younger cohort of smokers attending 6- week comprehensive cessation program.
METHODS: Behavior modification and pharmacotherapy were utilized to promote smoking cessation. At 30-day mark, quit status was validated using a carbon monoxide monitor (Bedfont® hand-held). One-year f/u was done. IRB approval was obtained. Data analyzed using SAS®.
RESULTS: Total 2052 smokers, 143 (7%)Older smokers were more likely to have recent a hospitalization 23% vs.13%, coexisting co-morbid: cardiac disease 78% vs. 38%, cancer 20% vs. 7%, and/or COPD/asthma 37% vs. 23% [p<0.0001]. Younger smokers were more likely to report concerns of: weight gain 30% vs. 15%, stress management 59% vs. 45%, fear of failure 15% vs. 8%, handling social situations 24% vs. 7%, cravings 44% vs. 36% as obstacles to quit attempt [p<0.005]. Older smoker's reasons for quitting smoking due to: pressure by their MD [p=0.0003], stress of a major health problem [p<0.0001]; while younger smokers common reasons were: expense of cigarettes [p=0.0002], tobacco odor [p=0.0001], general health concerns [p=0.0001]. 58% of both groups were smoke-free at 30-day mark.
CONCLUSION: The concerns, worries, obstacles and reasons for quitting vary greatly across a spectrum of population representing various age groups. Smoking related cost was more important to younger but not older smokers While ‘weight gain’ and ‘handling cravings’ were big Obstacles amongst younger smokers; older smokers related to the current decline in their health.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Healthcare 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.
DISCLOSURE: Virginia Reichert, No Financial Disclosure Information; No Product/Research Disclosure Information