Prevalence and predictors of tobacco use in the elderly

Shirlene Pang, Mythily Subramaniam, Edimansyah Abdin, Siau Pheng Lee, Boon Yiang Chua, Saleha Binte Shafie, Janhavi Vaingankar, Louisa Picco, Yun Jue Zhang, Siow Ann Chong

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Objective: Smoking is a well-established public health issue, which has not been examined previously among the elderly in Singapore. This paper describes and identifies the current prevalence and predictors of tobacco use among the older resident population. Methods: Data were derived from the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly study, a cross-sectional epidemiological study of the elderly in Singapore. Sociodemographic data from 2565 Singapore residents aged 60 years and above were collected through face-to-face interviews. Multinomial logistic regression analyses identified predictors of tobacco use. Results: A total of 236 respondents were current tobacco users (9.5%). The majority of older tobacco users were men (88.1%). Significant predictors of tobacco use were gender, marital status, and education level. Younger age (60–74 years old) was associated with more tobacco use, and the completion of tertiary education with lower rates of use. Conclusions: Smoking prevalence among the elderly was lower than that of the Singapore general adult population (16%). However, the rate is still high and is of concern given the likelihood of a higher rate of physical disorders, which could be worsened with tobacco use. The identification of those at risk enables them to be targeted for smoking cessation programs and other interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-722
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • elderly
  • Singapore
  • smoking
  • tobacco use

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