Smoking cessation is a critical component of cancer prevention among older adults (age ≥ 65 years). Understanding smoking cessation behaviors among older adults can inform clinical and community efforts to increase successful cessation. We provide current, national prevalence estimates for smoking cessation behaviors among older adults, including interest in quitting, quitting attempts, quitting successes, receiving advice to quit from a healthcare provider, and use of evidence-based tobacco cessation treatments. The 2015 National Health Interview Survey and Cancer Control Supplement were used to estimate cigarette smoking status and cessation behaviors among older US adults across selected socio-demographic and health characteristics. We found that four in five older adults who had ever smoked cigarettes had quit and more than half who currently smoked were interested in quitting but fewer than half made a past-year quit attempt. Two-thirds of older adults said that a healthcare provider advised them to quit smoking, but just over one-third who tried to quit used evidence-based tobacco cessation treatments and only one in 20 successfully quit in the past year. Prevalence estimates for smoking cessation behaviors were similar across most characteristics. Our study demonstrates that few older adults, across most levels of characteristics examined, successfully quit smoking, underscoring the importance of assisting smoking cessation efforts. Healthcare providers can help older adults quit smoking by offering or referring evidence-based cessation treatments. States and communities can implement population-based interventions including tobacco price increases, comprehensive smoke-free policies, high-impact tobacco education media campaigns, and barrier-free access to evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling and medications.
Smoking cessation behaviors among older U.S. adults