I have been trying to work out what they mean by this. Are they saying that loneliness in old people will kill them before they get old? In which case they wouldn't get to be old in the first place as we all know that smokers die at a very young age? I don't think they thought that little paradox out to its natural conclusion.
Or are they saying that loneliness gives you all sorts of strange, nasty and unrelated diseases?
Or do they mean that if you are lonely you cannot enter the working place or the pub?
In the Good Old Days, the natural recourse for the single elderly was to nip down to the pub of an evening [or even an afternoon] and quietly sit with a pint and a smoke, passing an odd comment to the barman and maybe chatting to a few other locals. Not only did it relieve the loneliness but it was also a handy way of keeping track of the elderly. If Old Mick didn't turn up for his glass of stout of an evening, people would wonder where he was and would call on him to make sure he was OK.
But of course the Nannies have done away with that, so the elderly now have to sit in isolation at home which is apparently better for their health? If they fall ill no one will be any the wiser and if they die a solitary death well, at least no one was irreparably damaged by an whiff of cigarette smoke.
Of course they could have meant that the sensation of loneliness is similar to the sensation of smoking fifteen fags a day, which wouldn't be too bad altogether?
Though personally I think I'll stick with the pipe.