Smoking promotes frailty in older individuals
Current smokers are more likely to develop frailty over 4 years compared with nonsmokers, according to a study involving older individuals.
The study included 2,542 community-dwelling older people aged ≥60 years in the United Kingdom. Participants were grouped into two according to smoking status: current smokers (n=261) and nonsmokers (n=2,281).
Compared with nonsmokers, current smokers were frailer, younger, had lower body mass index, were less educated and less wealthy, and lonelier at baseline.
Current smoking was associated with a twofold higher likelihood of developing frailty (odds ratio [OR], 2.07; 95 percent CI, 1.39 to 3.39; p=0.001) in a multivariable logistic regression model. This association was largely attenuated after adjustment for socioeconomic status.
Smoking remained significantly associated with incident frailty in fully adjusted models including age, gender, socioeconomic status, alcohol use, cognitive function and loneliness (OR, 1.60; 1.02 to 2.51; p=0.04). However, the relationship weakened after taking into account nonresponse bias via multiple imputation.
Findings of the current study are in agreement with previous longitudinal studies reporting that smoking worsened subsequent frailty status. [BMJ Open 2016;6:e011410; BMC Geriatr 2015;15:131; Eur J Public Health 2015;25:345–50; J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2013;68:338–46]
Mechanisms by which current smoking may promote development of frailty, although unknown, may be multifactorial as tobacco smoke is a mixture of numerous kinds of toxic chemicals and compounds and can affect every organ in the body, researchers said.
“Smoking has been shown to be associated with various physical and mental illnesses, any of which can contribute to the development of frailty,” they added. “Given that smoking is a modifiable lifestyle factor, smoking cessation may potentially prevent or delay developing frailty, even in old age.”