Health events and the smoking cessation of middle aged Americans.
This study investigates the effect of serious health events including new diagnoses of heart attacks, strokes, cancers, chronic lung disease, chronic heart failure, diabetes, and heart disease on future smoking status up to 6 years postevent. Data come from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of Americans aged 51-61 in 1991, followed every 2 years from 1992 to 1998. Smoking status is evaluated at each of three follow-ups, (1994, 1996, and 1998) as a function of health events between each of the four waves. Acute and chronic health events are associated with much lower likelihood of smoking both in the wave immediately following the event and up to 6 years later. However, future events do not retrospectively predict past cessation. In sum, serious health events have substantial impacts on cessation rates of older smokers. Notably, these effects persist for as much as 6 years after a health event.