Publication Abstract

Authors: Ruchlin HS

Title: An analysis of smoking patterns among older adults.

Journal: Med Care 37(6):615-9

Date: 1999 Jun

Abstract: UNLABELLED: BACKGROUND, SUBJECTS, AND METHODS: The 1990 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Supplement to The National Health Interview Survey was used to develop point-prevalence data about smoking for four age groups, 55 to 64, 65 to 74, 75 to 84, and over 84 and to assess the association of sociodemographics, health status, and health beliefs with a respondent's smoking profile. RESEARCH DESIGN: Chi-square and Cohran-Mantel-Haenszel tests were used to investigate prevalence patterns. Odds ratios generated from logistic regressions were used to indicate degree of association. RESULTS: Fifty-three percent of individuals above the age of 54 smoked in the past and 17% smoked in 1990. Among these smokers, 61% tried to quit and 36% noted that their physicians never advised them to quit. Significant age group differences were noted on the various measures of smoking prevalence. Beliefs about the adverse health effects of smoking were associated with a greater likelihood of never smoking, and among smokers, a greater likelihood of being a former smoker. CONCLUSIONS: Analyses of health behaviors among older adults must recognize the diversity within this age group, and measures of health beliefs should be included in subsequent studies of health behaviors among older adults. Physicians must also play a greater role in discussing smoking with their patients and advocating smoking cessation.