Cigarette smokers, never-smokers, and transitions: Implications for successful aging

Rachel Pruchno, Sarah Hahn, Maureen Wilson-Genderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


One of the social identities held by people is defined by whether or not they smoke cigarettes. Although this identity can and does change for many people over the course of their lives, most research has not examined the effects of transitioning from a smoker to a non-smoker. Using a life span perspective, our analyses contrasted the extent to which successful aging is experienced by: (1) persons who ever smoked and those who never smoked; (2) former smokers and current smokers; and (3) persons who transitioned from being a smoker to being a non-smoker at different ages. Using data from a random sample of 5,688 persons between the ages of 50 and 74 living in New Jersey, we found that persons who never smoked were most likely to age successfully; there were no differences in patterns of successful aging when all former smokers were compared to current smokers; and persons who quit smoking before age 30 experienced modest benefits compared with those who continued to smoke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-209
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Aging and Human Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aging
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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