Tobacco control policy and smoking cessation and intensity in a longitudinal sample of US older adults (1992 - 2014)
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University of Michigan, Department of Sociology, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A904
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US Older adults have lower smoking rates than adults in other age groups; only about eight percent of people 65 and older smoke. These lower smoking rates have limited research into the effects of tobacco control policy on smoking cessation in later life, but the lack of attention is misguided. Quitting even relatively late in life confers health and life expectancy benefits. This study addresses two questions: were changes in average cigarette prices and smoke-free laws associated with an increased likelihood of cessation and/or decreased smoking intensity among older adults? Did the effects of tobacco control policies on the likelihood of cessation and/or decreased smoking intensity vary by education and/or race?

Geocoded longitudinal data from the 1992 to 2014 waves of the Health and Retirement Study including smokers 51 and older were used to assess the relationship between changes in 100% smoke-free laws and average cigarette pack price and the likelihood of smoking cessation or change in the number of cigarettes smoked daily. All analyses were stratified by gender.

The enactment of a non-hospitality workplace law was associated with an increased likelihood of cessation among men, but not among women. Transition to other smoke-free laws was not associated with increased cessation or lowered intensity. High school graduates decreased their smoking intensity in response to cigarette price change more than those with less than high school. The most consistent predictor of increased probability of cessation and decreased smoking intensity among these older adults was a negative change in health.

These results suggest that older adults' smoking is less sensitive to changes in smoke-free policies or increased cigarette prices than that of younger adults.

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