The Best Time for Seniors to Quit Smoking

Right now is the best time for Seniors to quit smoking.  Some seniors may think it’s too late for them to quit smoking. It may be tempting to think the damage has already been done as far as their health is concerned and they are too set in their ways to change.  This is not true at all

The truth is, your body will immediately begin recovery as soon as you stop smoking.  Why not join the millions of other seniors who have successfully quit?  You can too

Actually, an aging population is creating increasing interest and options for seniors who are interested in releasing themselves from the grip of tobacco.  Large organizations like the American Lung Association and the National Institutes of Health have created special websites and other tools created especially for smokers over 50.

Why not take advantage of the growing number of resources to aid you in the journey?  Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Benefits for Seniors Quitting Smoking

The benefits of discarding tobacco products have positive outcomes at any age but are particularly beneficial for seniors and adults over 50.

  1. Lower your blood pressure.  Your blood pressure drops in less than a half-hour after your last cigarette.  This means you may be able to avoid taking some medications and risking the side effects! 
  2. Recover faster.  Medications are generally used more as we age, with more illnesses and undergoing more procedures.  Not smoking speeds up natural healing.
  3. Stay sharp.  Many studies have shown that smoking increases your risk for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Hold onto your memory and cognitive functions longer.
  4. Breathe easier.  Since seniors have a higher rate of respiratory conditions, it pays to take care of their lungs. In addition to lung cancer, you’ll be protecting yourself from pneumonia, COPD, bronchitis, and emphysema.
  1. Strengthen your heart.  Enhanced circulation and fewer heart conditions are another bonus.  Your risk of heart attacks declines in just a few weeks after you quit smoking.
  2. Thicken your bones.  Smoking speeds up the bone loss that comes with aging.  Guarding against fractures makes it easier to stay active and fit.

Tips for Seniors Who Want to Quit Smoking

Many smoking cessation tips that work for the younger set will help seniors, too.  Take a look at some general tips, and perhaps you can heed some of the advice geared toward your particular needs and experiences.

Try nicotine replacement.  Studies show that seniors tend to underestimate the safety of nicotine replacement devices.  Talk with your doctor about gum and patches.  Quitting may be less uncomfortable than you think.

Check your coverage.  In recent years, Medicare coverage for smoking cessation has expanded.  You may be eligible for counseling and pharmaceuticals even if you don’t already have a diagnosed smoking-related condition.

  1. Taper down.  In years past, you may have heard that cold turkey was the only way to quit.  Today, most experts agree that ex-smokers succeed with a variety of methods, including gradual approaches.
  2. Apply your wisdom.  There are advantages to not being born yesterday.  Build on your confidence by remembering other obstacles you have overcome.  Focus on your future goals.
  3. Seek support.  One major piece of wisdom that often comes with maturity is the recognition that we sometimes need a helping hand.  Let your family and friends know how they can assist you.  Join a support group or start one of your own.
  4. Think long-term.  Many smokers require multiple attempts at quitting, so hang in there.  Each time you try, you learn more about what works for you.  Just wanting to quit puts you ahead of the pack.  According to the CDC, older smokers try to quit at only half the rate of younger adults.  You can become an inspiring role model for others.  

Becoming smoke-free is a major victory whether you’re 18 or 80.  Giving up tobacco can extend your life and help you get more enjoyment from your golden years!

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