Today, two generations after the first Surgeon General's report, and with abundant evidence of the catastrophic consequences of smoking, no serious person can be unaware that smokers risk their lives and health. We also know that quitting smoking - at any age - promises significant health benefits. When offered the tools they need, older smokers quit smoking at rates comparable to those of younger smokers despite their skepticism, fatalism, and self-doubt. Older smokers should be encouraged to enter programs that stress the health benefits derived and identify the risks they are avoiding by quitting smoking. These programs establish quit dates, use sound behavioral modification techniques, provide strategies for stress management and relaxation, treat withdrawal symptoms, and provide regular and continuing follow-up. The patient is asked to make an existential change, and the physician should provide encouragement and promote self-confidence by emphasizing that, despite setbacks, with repeated efforts, success can be achieved. Clinicians can influence patients to quit smoking, and they should.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology