Ageism: Lack of Smoking Intervention

When it comes to seniors, the medical community does less for prevention, intervention and aggressive treatment. Smoking is a sadly overlooked area of senior health. Aside from being directly correlated to other diseases, smoking has been linked to dementia and its progression. If we are serious about caring for our elderly, there must be a greater effort expended toward the elderly quitting smoking.

Smoking in the elderly


According to the Center for Social Gerontology, 94% of the 430,000 annual smoking-related deaths in the US are people ages 50 and over. Beyond that, 70% are 65 and up.

Although smoking can be prevented, senior checkups do not fully address this issue. Doctors and patients tend to think the old habit cannot be broken. Also rampant is the mistaken belief that years of damage cannot be undone. Smoking is a bad habit, but ignoring it is not the answer to a healthier life.

Furthermore, these beliefs are untrue! The Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that smokers aged 45 and up are more likely to quit smoking than younger smokers. In addition, circulation and lung capacity improved by one-third within three months of quitting, and the risk of heart attack lowers within the first 24 hours. Other problems caused by smoking, such as fatigue, coughing, congestion and more, also begin to subside in the first nine months.


Moving Forward

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that clinicians ask all adults about their tobacco use. Tobacco cessation counseling is covered under Medicare Part B for up to  eight visits with a qualified doctor in a 12-month period. We hope this information will help you and your loved ones pursue better health. Ageism in medicine is an unfortunate reality, but the right information can provide a path toward improvement. Seniors deserve to live life to its fullest, and prevention and intervention could help. The cessation of smoking could turn your life around!


When you or a family member needs help, our highly qualified caregivers can offer assistance. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.