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Smokers need social care ten years earlier

Smokers need social care ten years earlier


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Effects of smoking on health and independence

When people smoke, this has a major impact on their social care needs in old age. Smokers need ten years more social care compared to non-smokers.

An investigation by Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has now found that smokers need social care ten years earlier than non-smokers. The results of the research work were summarized in a report.

High costs through care

The average age at which smokers first develop a social need for care is 62 years. In comparison, the social care requirement for non-smokers is 72 years. Such an earlier need for care leads to greatly increased costs for the health care system. In England alone, 670,000 people over the age of 50 have a need for care due to smoking, and although 55 percent of these adults receive the support they need, 45 percent have unmet care needs, the researchers report. Informal caregivers, friends and family members who support people with care needs free of charge help the state to save high additional costs.

One to four smokers needed support

The results of the report are based on an analysis of the English longitudinal study on aging (ELSA). Of the over 50s, one in four (23.5 percent) smokers need help with at least one in six daily activities. In contrast, the probability of needing help for non-smokers was only 12.1 percent.

Annual attempts to quit smoking should be sought

“Illnesses and disabilities caused by smoking mean that people need social care a decade earlier than if they had never smoked. This not only harms their quality of life, but also affects England's social welfare system. Local authorities should help smokers in their communities make an annual smoking cessation attempt, as this can improve their quality of life as they age, ”the researchers report. The team explains that people who quit smoking at the age of 30 can avoid almost all long-term health consequences of smoking and thus reduce the likelihood that they need early social care.

What can the state and authorities do?

Local authorities should reduce smoking by lowering local prevalence rates by helping affected people quit smoking. The government should commit to expanding and improving regulation of the tobacco industry, including through anti-smoking campaigns and stricter tobacco marketing regulations. Helping people to quit smoking today will result in lower costs for both local authorities and smokers in the future. This also means that fewer people are dependent on informal care or have to live with unmet care needs, the researchers add. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Swell:

  • Smokers develop social care needs a decade earlier than those who’ve never smoked, Action on Smoking and Health (query: 27.09.2019), ASH



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