Smoking Cessation for Seniors
It makes no difference how old you are or how long you've been a smoker; quitting at any age improves your health. When you quit smoking, you will likely live longer, breathe easier, have more energy, and save money. You'll also have to:
• Reduce the chances of getting cancer, a heart attack, a stroke, or lung disease.
• Improved blood circulation
• Enhance your sense of smell and taste
• Stop smelling like a cigarette
• Set a good example for your children and grandchildren by eating well.
Smoking reduces the length of your life. Every year, it kills about one out of every five people in the United States. Millions of Americans are sickened by smoking because it causes:
• Lung problems. Smoking harms your lungs and airways, causing chronic bronchitis in some cases. It can also cause emphysema, which destroys your lungs and makes breathing difficult.
• Coronary artery disease. Smoking increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
• Carcinoma. Lung, mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, and cervix cancers are all linked to smoking.
• Issues with the lungs. If you smoke, you're more likely to catch the flu, pneumonia, or other ailments that can make it difficult to breathe than if you don't.
• Osteoporosis is a disease that affects the bones. If you smoke, you're more likely to experience osteoporosis (weak bones).
• Eye problems. Smoking raises the risk of eye disorders including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which can cause vision loss and blindness (AMD).
• Diabetic complications. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop type 2 diabetes, and smoking makes it more difficult to manage diabetes once you have it. Diabetes is a chronic condition that can result in blindness, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney failure, and amputation.
Smoking may also cause muscles to fatigue quickly, wounds to heal more slowly, men to develop erectile dysfunction, and skin to become dark and wrinkled.
Nicotine is a controlled substance.
Nicotine is the substance in nicotine that causes cigarettes to be so addicting. Despite the fact that some people who quit smoking experience no withdrawal symptoms, many people do have intense cravings for cigarettes. They may also be irritable, hungry, or tired. Some people suffer from headaches, depression, or difficulty sleeping or focusing. These signs and symptoms can diminish with time.
Assistance with Quitting
Many people believe that the first step to successfully stopping smoking is to make a concrete commitment to stop and set a firm date to do so. Make a strategy for dealing with circumstances that cause the need to smoke, as well as cravings. It's possible that you'll have to try a few different methods to figure out what works best for you. For instance, you could:
• Consult your physician.
• Read self-help materials.
• Attend individual or group therapy sessions.
• Seek assistance from a neighbor.
• Create a bonus system based on what you can do with the money you spend on cigarettes.
• Go for a stroll or pursue a different physical activity.
• Take medication to assist with nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
Some people are concerned that if they stop smoking, they will gain weight. If this worries you, make a plan to exercise and stay physically active after you quit—it will help you avoid cravings and is important for safe aging.
Getting Rid of Addiction:
When you stop smoking, you can need assistance to deal with your body's craving for nicotine. Some smokers find that nicotine replacement drugs assist them in quitting. Gum, patches, and lozenges are also available over the counter.
Prescription drugs can also assist you in quitting. Nicotine nasal sprays or inhalers can help you quit smoking by reducing withdrawal symptoms.
Other medications can also aid in the relief of withdrawal symptoms. Consult your doctor to determine which medications are right for you.
Cigars, pipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, and snuff are all harmful to your health.
Some people believe that smokeless tobacco (such as chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safer than cigarettes. No, they aren't. Tobacco that isn't smoked causes cancer of the mouth and pancreas. It also causes oral leukoplakia (precancerous lesions), gum disease, and nicotine addiction. Pipe and cigar users are more likely to develop mouth, tongue, larynx, esophagus, and bladder cancers. People who smoke and inhale are more likely to develop lung cancer, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema. Smoking tobacco with a hookah carries many of the same health hazards as smoking cigarettes.
It's Dangerous to Inhale Secondhand Smoke
Cigarettes, cigars, and pipes emit secondhand smoke, which can trigger significant health issues for smokers' families, friends, and even pets. People who already have lung or heart disease are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer in adults. It can raise the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the death of a baby less than one year of age for no apparent reason. If children are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are more likely to develop respiratory disorders, ear infections, and serious asthma.
The Good News About Quitting
The good news is that if you stop smoking, even though you're in your 60s, 70s, or beyond, you'll be able to:
• The heart rate and blood pressure will return to normal.
• Your nerve endings begin to regenerate, allowing you to improve your sense of smell and taste.
• The heart, lungs, and circulatory system will start to work better.
• You'll cough less and be less out of breath.
• You'll have a lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
• Your breathing will get better.
• You'll have a lower risk of developing cancer.
All of these health benefits, regardless of age, are compelling reasons to make a decision to quit smoking.
Stick with it if you want to quit smoking.
Many people need several attempts before successfully quitting smoking. You are not a loser if you mess up and smoke a cigarette. You should try again and succeed this time.
It's never too late to reap the benefits of smoking cessation. Particularly in later life, quitting smoking will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as your risk of death.
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