August 13, 2019, 1:29 pm
Disgusting prevention campaigns, banning smoking in public institutions, have increased tobacco prices: All this does not hold the 55 plus generation due to the obsessive squeeze of cigarettes, whistles & Co. from. Although the number of daily smokers is generally decreasing among the elderly, the number of over-smokers has increased dramatically, according to current KKH Commercial Health Insurance data.
In 2017, approximately 50,000 policyholders between the ages of 55 and 79 were treated for tobacco dependence, withdrawal symptoms, acute tobacco or mental health problems due to tobacco.
This is 130 percent more than in 2007. The highest increase, three times, was recorded by KKH among women aged 65-69.
About every eighth affected
On the other hand, the highest proportion of smokers was among men aged 60-64: about one in eight was affected. For comparison, in the national average it was one in eleven.
Michael Falkenstein, an expert on addiction issues at KKH, estimates that the number of unreported cases is much higher because the data cover only tobacco treatment.
Reasons for increasing not only risky alcohol consumption but also excessive tobacco consumption, especially in the elderly. For one thing, the older generation of today grew up in a time when smoking was taken for granted; on the other hand, many older people were lonely and isolated: once they were irreplaceable in business, they no longer feel the need.
In addition, the partner may have already died, relatives living far away, missing friends and close acquaintances. Cigarette is then often used as a means of communication, for example, in front of restaurants and pubs in contact with like-minded people. In the mid-fifties, who are still working, smoking is often a means of reducing stress.
"Many believe it's not worth the stop"
"Recognizing addiction in old age as such is very difficult," says Falkenstein. Smoking is then accepted by many as something that simply cannot be changed. In addition, the health effects of cigarette squeeze are often unacknowledged.
Impairments such as decreased mental and physical performance, increased susceptibility to infections, permanent fatigue or dizziness are more often attributed to aging than, for example, tobacco use.
"Many also believe that it is no longer worth it to quit smoking in old age," Falkenstein says, but that was not right.
Even those who refrain from using cigarettes only when they are over 60 can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease in just a few years. This was revealed by scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in an analysis that included more than half a million people over the age of 60 from Europe and the US.
"Lead by example"
Therefore, the risk of cardiovascular disease in the first five years after the last cigarette has decreased markedly – even in people who have quit smoking after their 60th birthday.
However, the longer you quit smoking, the lower your risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. Falkenstein also points out that tobacco addicts not only risk their own health but also endanger those who smoke secondhand:
"Parents and grandparents should first and foremost protect their children and grandchildren and set a good example by not smoking or quitting as soon as possible."
Photo credit: equilibreplus.com / kkh