Clinician Advice to Quit Smoking Among Seniors

Published in: Preventive Medicine, v. 70, Jan. 2015, p. 83-89

Posted on RAND.org on December 15, 2014

by William G. Shadel, Marc N. Elliott, Ann C. Haas, Amelia Haviland, Nathan Orr, Melissa M. Farmer, Sai Ma, Robert Weech-Maldonado, Donna O. Farley, Paul Cleary

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OBJECTIVE: Little smoking research in the past 20 years includes persons 50 and older; herein we describe patterns of clinician cessation advice to US seniors, including variation by Medicare beneficiary characteristics. METHOD: In 2012–4, we analyzed 2010 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey data from Medicare beneficiaries over age 64 (n = 346,674). We estimated smoking rates and the proportion of smokers whose clinicians encouraged cessation. RESULTS: 12% of male and 8% of female respondents aged 65 and older smoke. The rate decreases with age (14% of 65–69, 3% of 85 +) and education (12–15% with no high school degree, 5–6% with BA +). Rates are highest among American Indian/Alaskan Native (16%), multiracial (14%), and African–American (13%) seniors, and in the Southeast (14%). Only 51% of smokers say they receive cessation advice "always" or "usually" at doctor visits, with advice more often given to the young, those in low-smoking regions, Asians, and women. For all results cited p < 0.05. CONCLUSIONS: Smoking cessation advice to seniors is variable. Providers may focus on groups or areas in which smoking is less common or when they are most comfortable giving advice. More consistent interventions are needed, including cessation advice from clinicians.

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