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Tobacco smoking in older people

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 October 2009

SC Allen*
The Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Bournemouth University, Dorset, UK
Address for correspondence: Professor SC Allen, The Royal Bournemouth Hospital, Castle Lane East, Bournemouth, Dorset BH7 7DW. Email:


Smoking remains prevalent in elderly people in the UK and similar countries. The adverse health effects of current smoking continue to accumulate in old age and stopping smoking in old age confers benefits on function, morbidity and mortality. Many elderly people wish to stop smoking and many are successful. Structured support from health and social care workers improves quit rates and nicotine replacement therapy can be an effective aid to smoking cessation in old age. Doctors and other healthcare staff should use the opportunities of patient contact to encourage older smokers to quit. Cognitive impairment is a barrier to successful smoking cessation.

Clinical geriatrics
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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