Smoking Among Seniors

The Additional Risks

Seniors face increased risks associated with smoking which include hip fractures, cataracts, and COPD. It's never too late to quit smoking. The health benefits of cessation start within minutes of the last cigarette.

  • Smoking reduces bone density among menopausal women.
  • Smoking is casually related to an increased risk for hip fractures in men and women.
  • Of the 850,000 fractures among those over age 65 in the United States each year, 300,000 are hip fractures. Persons with a hip fracture are 12% to 20% more likely to die than those without a hip fracture. Estimated costs related to hip fractures range from $7 billion to $10 billion each year.
  • Smoking is related to nuclear cataracts of the lens of the eye, the most common type of cataract in the United States. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide and a leading cause of visual loss in the United States. Smokers have two to three times the risk of developing cataracts as nonsmokers.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is consistently among the top 10 most common chronic health conditions and among the top 10 conditions that limit daily activities. Prevalence of COPD is highest in men and women 65 years of age and older (16.7% among men and 12.6% among women).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004.

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