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Is it too late to get my elderly parents to quit smoking?

Well, it's never too late to try! The real question may be: do your parents want to quit smoking? Many of us in healthcare recommend smoking cessation, or at least cutting back, at virtually every patient encounter. "It hasn't killed me yet!" is not an uncommon reply. (Frankly, sometimes it's hard to argue with success). Aside from the well known cancer and heart disease risks of smoking; an elder who is losing function (say of fine motor control of the hands) and/or memory (perhaps leaving lit smoking materials in unsafe locations in the home) the risk of fire is not insignificant.

All of these concerns can be expressed, calmly and lovingly, by family. Repeat periodically, without nagging. Offer support and encouragement. Family members, who are also smokers, might offer to quit at the same time. Sometimes these things sound like a better idea - given some time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.