Exploring smoking, mental health and smoking-related disease in a nationally representative sample of older adults in Ireland – A retrospective secondary analysis.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death among individuals with mental health difficulties (MHD). The aim of the current study was to determine the impact of smoking on the physical health of older adults with MHD in Ireland and to explore the extent to which smoking mediated or moderated associations between MHD and smoking-related diseases.
Cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative sample of 8175 community-dwelling adults aged 50 and over from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) was undertaken. Multivariate adjusted logistic regression models were used to assess the association between MHD, smoking (current/past/never) and smoking-related diseases (respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, smoking-related cancers). A number of variables were employed to identify individuals with MHD, including prescribed medication, self-reported diagnoses and self-report scales.
MHD was associated with current (RRRs ranging from 1.84 [1.50 to 2.26] to 4.31 [2.47 to 7.53]) and former (RRRs ranging from 1.26 [1.05 to 1.52] to 1.99 [1.19 to 3.33]) smoking and also associated with the presence of smoking-related disease (ORs ranging from 1.24 [1.01 to 1.51] to 1.62 [1.00 to 2.62]). Smoking did not mediate and rarely moderated associations between MHD and smoking-related disease.
Older adults in Ireland with MHD are more likely to smoke than those without such difficulties. They also experience higher rates of smoking-related disease, although smoking had no mediating and no consistent moderating role in these analyses. Findings underscore the need for attention to the physical health of those with MHD including support in smoking cessation.