If you’ve been smoking for a long time, you may believe it’s too late to quit. Perhaps you believe that the damage has been done to your health and that you are too set in your ways to change.
The truth is that once you stop smoking, your body will begin to heal. Millions of seniors have successfully quit smoking, and you can, too.
Indeed, an aging population is increasing interest in and options for seniors who want to quit smoking. Organizations such as the National Institutes of Health and the American Lung Association have developed special websites and other tools for smokers over the age of 50. Take advantage of the growing number of resources and put these tips to use.
Seniors Can Benefit From Quitting Smoking
Quitting smoking is good for your health at any age, but it is especially important for seniors. Many smoking-related conditions are especially concerning for adults over the age of 50.
- Reduce your blood pressure. In less than a half-hour after your last cigarette, your blood pressure begins to fall. You might be able to avoid taking medications and exposing yourself to their side effects.
- Recover more quickly. In terms of medication, you’re likely to be taking more prescriptions, experiencing more illnesses, and undergoing more procedures as you get older. Smoking cessation hastens natural healing.
- Maintain your focus. Numerous studies have found that smoking increases your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Maintain your memory and cognitive functions for a longer period of time.
- Relax your breathing. Seniors are more likely to develop respiratory conditions, so it is important to take care of your lungs. In addition to lung cancer, you’ll be safeguarding against pneumonia, COPD, bronchitis, and emphysema.
- Consolidate your heart. Another advantage is improved circulation and fewer heart conditions. After you stop smoking, your risk of having a heart attack decreases in just a few weeks.
- Strengthen your bones. Smoking hastens the aging process of bone loss. Keeping fractures at bay makes it easier to stay active and fit.
Tips for Seniors Who Want to Quit Smoking
Many smoking cessation tips that work for younger people will also work for seniors. Take a look at some general advice as well as advice tailored to your specific needs and experiences.
- Try nicotine replacement therapy. According to studies, seniors tend to overestimate the safety of nicotine replacement devices. Discuss the use of gum and patches with your doctor. Quitting may be less painful than you think.
- Examine your insurance coverage. Medicare coverage for smoking cessation has grown in recent years. Even if you do not have a diagnosed smoking-related condition, you may be eligible for counseling and pharmaceuticals.
- Reduce the length. You may have heard that quitting cold turkey was the only way to go years ago. Most experts now agree that ex-smokers can achieve success using a variety of methods, including gradual approaches.
- Use your common sense. There are some benefits to not being born yesterday. Remind yourself of previous obstacles you’ve overcome to boost your confidence. Concentrate on your long-term objectives.
- Seek assistance. One important piece of wisdom that often comes with maturity is the realization that we occasionally require assistance. Inform your family and friends about how they can help you. Join an existing support group or form your own.
- Consider the long term. Many smokers require multiple attempts to quit, so be patient. Each time you try something new, you learn more about what works best for you. You’re already ahead of the game if you want to quit. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older smokers attempt to quit at half the rate of younger adults. You have the potential to be an inspiring role model for others.
Whether you’re 18 or 80, quitting smoking is a huge accomplishment. Giving up tobacco can help you live longer and enjoy your golden years more.