Older adults' contact with health practitioners: Is there an association with smoking practices?

Mark S. Kaplan, Jason T. Newsom, Bentson H. McFarland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background. Approximately 12% of the North American population aged 65 and older smoke cigarettes daily. Late-life smokers represent an important population for intervention by health practitioners. The objective of this study was to determine the extent to which contact with health practitioners (dentists or physicians) affects smoking status among older adults. Methods. We used data on a probability-based sample of community-dwelling elderly respondents (N = 13,363) from the Canadian 1996-1997 National Population Health Survey. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to examine the associations between current tobacco use and contact with health care practitioners controlling for potential confounders, especially sociodemographic characteristics, selected health conditions, self-reported health, body mass index, functional status, perceived social support, and psychological distress. Results, Older adults without a regular physician (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.33 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-1.59), with infrequent physical (AOR, 1.22; 95% Cl, 1.07- 1.40), and dental (AOR, 2.68; 95% Cl, 2.07-3.47) checkups were more likely to be current smokers. Age (younger), church attendance (infrequent), drinking behavior (former or occasional), body mass index (normal weight), and psychological distress were all independently related to current smoking. Conclusions. Results indicate that patients' contact with health care providers is strongly negatively associated with smoking. More specific data are needed to learn the frequency with which physicians and dental professionals, attempt to modify older individuals' smoking behavior and the degree to which such efforts are effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M343-M346
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Older adults' contact with health practitioners: Is there an association with smoking practices?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this