Posters Highlight Tobacco's Impact on Older Persons

The Center for Social Gerontology has created and disseminated two posters which are intended to raise the consciousness of people of all ages about the impact of tobacco-related diseases on older Americans. The posters, shown below, highlight two basic themes, as follows:

The Victims are Older Americans -- The Cause is Tobacco This poster, with its bulls-eye shaped pie chart, demonstrates very clearly that, of 416,000 smoking-related deaths annually in the U.S., older Americans are the primary victims. The theme of this poster that "94% of the persons who die of smoking-related diseases are aged 50 and over, and that 70% of the persons who die of smoking-related diseases are 65 and over" has been echoed by advocates and policymakers ever since we started publicizing these startling facts. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley has made it a prominent part of his responses to constituents and in his speeches on the tobacco issue; we encourage you to do the same in your public discussions of this issue.

Not Quitting Smoking is "Smoker's Russian Roulette" This poster, with its eye-catching revolver, highlights that current smokers run a 1 out of 3 risk of dying prematurely and losing 12 to 15 years off their normal life expectancy. The poster dramatically confronts the issue that not all smokers die prematurely, but that those 1 out of 3 who do die early lose their chance to enjoy retirement years.

We encourage you to download and display these posters prominently in facilities serving older Americans, including Senior Centers, meals sites for the elderly, health facilities, recreation centers, housing facilities for the elderly and in other facilities serving old and young persons. The posters are intended to influence smokers, and also to influence service providers and policymakers. A key message of these posters is that older persons should be included in any efforts to reduce tobacco use, to create smoke-free environments and to remedy the health damage caused by tobacco use.

Feel free to use downloaded copies of these posters in newsletters or other publications; we ask only that you provide attribution to The Center for Social Gerontology, Ann Arbor, Michigan, when you use the posters in such manner.

These posters are described in more detail in the Spring/Summer 1998 issue of our newsletter, Tobacco & the Elderly Notes.