It may be surprising for some seniors to learn that it does not matter how old you are, or how long you have been smoking, quitting at any time can drastically improve your health. When a senior quits smoking, it can increase longevity, improve breathing, increase energy, and even have a positive impact on financial health.
Learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking for older adults.
Dangers of Smoking
We all know that smoking is bad for your health, but how bad is it really? The truth is that smoking shortens lifespan. It causes 1 out of 5 deaths in the U.S. every year and negatively impacts the health of millions of Americans. In addition to making muscles tire more easily, slowing the healing process, making skin dull and wrinkled, and increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction in men, smoking can cause or significantly worsen the following conditions:
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
- Breathing or respiratory issues
- Eye disease
Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The good news is that you are never too old to quit smoking. No matter how long you have been a smoker, quitting at any time can have a positive impact on your health. Quitting smoking has mental, physical, and financial benefits including:
- Lowering the risk of chronic illness like cancer and lung disease
- Lowering the risk of a stroke
- Improving circulation
- Improving the senses of taste of smell
- Increasing disposable income
- Increasing energy
- Keeping family and friends safe from the dangers of secondhand smoke
How to Quit Smoking as a Senior
It can be challenging for seniors to quit smoking, even after knowing the extensive health benefits of quitting. Nicotine is an addictive drug that makes cigarettes so hard to quit. Most people who quit smoking have a strong craving for cigarettes and report feeling grumpy, tired, and hungry. Some people also report feelings of depression, headaches, and problems sleeping or focusing. The good news is that these withdrawal symptoms go away over time.
The first step to quitting smoking is to make a firm decision to quit and pick a hard stop date. Let those around you know you plan to quit so they can help hold you accountable. Quitting smoking will require a strategic plan. Here are some ideas to include in your plan to quit smoking:
- Write down your reasons for quitting and go back to those reasons when you are tempted.
- Talk with your doctor and ask about any medications that are safe and may help you quit smoking.
- Read self-help brochures.
- Attend a support group to be with others who are going through a similar journey
- Download an app from SmokeFree60+.
- Estimate how much money you spend on cigarettes annually and reward yourself with something else of equal value.
- Expand your interests and hobbies.
- Try a new physical activity.
- Take medicine to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal like gum, patches, over the counter lozenges.
The good news is that it’s not too late to quit smoking – no matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking. Have you quit smoking as a senior? How did you do it? Share your tips with us in the comments below!