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New Web resource launched to help older adults quit smoking

SmokingThe National Institutes of Health is offering a new Web resource to help older adults stop smoking.

Quitting Smoking for Older Adults, a new item from NIHSeniorHealth, offers videos, worksheets, interactive features, strategies, quizzes, and more for older smokers who want to or are thinking of quitting.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable, premature death and illness in the United States, responsible for almost half a million deaths each year. In addition to lung and other cancers, smoking can cause heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

A Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequences of Smoking - 50 Years of Progress,provides new data that links smoking to bone disease, cataract, diabetes, macular degeneration, and erectile dysfunction.

Research shows that people who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely than those who continue to smoke to die from smoking-related illness. Although the rates of smoking have declined in recent years for all age groups, nearly 10 percent of adults over age 65 – almost four million older Americans – continue to smoke.

“Most older adults know that smoking is harmful, and many have tried unsuccessfully to quit, often a number of times,” said Erik Augustson, program director of the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute, which developed the Web resource for NIHSeniorHealth.

The new Web resource is easy to use and can benefit those trying to quit for the first time as well as those who have tried before, said Augustson.

Quitting Smoking for Older Adults joins other NIHSeniorHealth topics geared toward older adults, including exercise and physical activity, long-term care, safe use of medicines, and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.

Copyright 2014, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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