An Evaluation of Tobacco Use and Tobacco Cessation Interventions in Older Adults: A Review

Author(s) Information

Dhara MehtaFollow


Cumulative efforts by the Surgeon General and other organizations to decrease tobacco use rates throughout the world have generally been successful. Although long-term tobacco use is detrimental to their often compromised health status, tobacco use rates in older adults over age 60 have plateaued at the rate of 9% in the U.S.


This literature review explores tobacco use, tobacco cessation benefits, and the barriers older adults face in the outpatient setting. It evaluates the Surgeon General’s recommended FDA-approved pharmacological therapies (nicotine replacement, varenicline, and bupropion therapy) and non-pharmacological interventions (behavioral and cognitive behavioral therapies) offered via face-to-face, web-based, and mobile-assisted platforms to identify which intervention(s) are likelier to aid tobacco cessation in older adults.

Search strategy

Searches were performed in PubMed, CINHAL, and Google Scholar using the keywords older adults, tobacco, cessation, barriers, nicotine, varenicline, bupropion, behavioral, cognitive, motivational interviewing, face-to-face, web-based, and mobile-assisted platforms.

Results of literature search

Studies in full text, English, and published between 2017-2022 were included. Studies that did not include older adults or FDA approved interventions were excluded. Ultimately, 99 studies remained for the final analysis.

Synthesis of evidence

It was determined that nicotine replacement therapy combined with behavioral therapies using motivational interviewing are effective when offered through mobile-assisted platforms for older adults.

Implications for practice

Understanding which interventions are most effective in targeting tobacco use in older adults can help advanced practice nurses address this plateau by delivering evidence-based, effective, and patient-centered interventions that can improve health outcomes for this vulnerable population.



An Evaluation of Tobacco Use and Tobacco Cessation Interventions in Older Adults: A Review