Smoking and Functional Health among Older Adults in Urban and Rural Beijing

Toshiko Kaneda, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)
Zachary Zimmer, University of Utah
Zhe Tang, Beijing Municipal Network for Health & Care of the Elderly
Xianghua Fang, Beijing Municipal Network for Health & Care of the Elderly

The paper examines the association between smoking behavior and functional health outcomes among older adults in urban and rural areas of Beijing by (1) estimating life and active life expectancies for smokers and non-smokers and (2) examining the effect of smoking on functional health transitions, controlling for various sociodemographic characteristics. We use data from three waves (1992, 1994 and 1997) of the Beijing Multidimentional Longitudinal Study of Aging (N=3,257). Our analysis shows both males and females who have never smoked have distinct advantages in life and active life expectancies over their counterparts who have ever smoked, even at advanced ages. Given the prevalence of smoking in China, this translates into substantial benefits that can be accrued through changes in smoking behaviors. The paper further examines how smoking affects changes in functional status over a five-year period. Conclusion compares results to the few studies that have been conducted in developed countries.

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Presented in Poster Session 2