Adults aged 60 years or older who stopped smoking even later in life were at reduced risk for cardiovascular events and death, according to study results.
“Our results on the benefits of smoking cessation are particularly noteworthy because so far the impact of cessation on cardiovascular mortality and disease risks have rarely been studied in older adults,” Ute Mons, PhD, of the German Cancer Research Center, and colleagues wrote. “Even though the risk avoided by smoking cessation is greater the earlier a smoker quits, our data show that smoking cessation was still associated with a substantial reduction of cardiovascular risks even in the oldest age groups.”
Mons and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of data collected from 25 cohorts in the Consortium on Health and Aging: Network of Cohorts in Europe and the United States to analyze the impact of smoking and smoking cessation on cardiovascular mortality, acute coronary events and stroke in people aged 60 years and older.
The researchers identified 503,905 participants, including 37,952 who died from cardiovascular disease during follow-up.
Overall, 40.2% of participants reported being never smokers, 47.4% identified themselves as former smokers, and 12.4% were current smokers.
When compared with never smokers, current (HR = 2.07; 95% CI, 1.82-2.36) and former (HR = 1.37; 95% CI, 1.25-1.49) smokers were at an increased risk for cardiovascular mortality.
Smoking related cardiovascular mortality risk continued to decrease in former smokers for every 10 years since cessation date (HR = 0.85; 95% CI, 0.82-0.89). Researchers indicated there was a similar decline in risk for cardiovascular mortality per 10 years in people who never smoked (HR = 0.82; 95% CI, 0.78-0.86).
Former smokers who quit 20 years or more ago were at a slightly increased risk for cardiovascular mortality (HR = 1.15; 95% CI, 1.02-1.3).
Current (HR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.4-1.78) and former (HR = 1.17; 95% CI, 1.07-1.26) smokers also had an increased risk for stroke.
“Despite the attenuation of the relative risks with age, smoking cessation interventions in older adults could probably achieve even greater absolute reductions in adverse cardiovascular events than in younger or middle aged populations given the trends of population aging in higher income countries and the higher incidence of cardiovascular events and mortality in older age,” the researchers wrote. – by Ryan McDonald
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.