National Non-Smoking week is the third week of January. For those of us who are trying to quit smoking this new year, this is a good time to start. The Canadian Council for Tobacco Control will be educating the public about the dangers of smoking and helping people to quit. For the many seniors who would like to quit there is always the decision on whether or not it is worth it at their age.
What can we gain by quitting smoking at an advanced age?
- Many seniors put themselves at risk of developing pneumonia if they continue to smoke. With weakened lungs and possibly a weakened immune system, all it can take is one bad cold for pneumonia to develop. Those seniors who have quit or never smoked are better able to fight off pneumonia.
- Smoking can lead to more brittle bones. As we age, the risk of falls increases and if your bones are not strong, broken bones can lead to an extended hospital stay or in the case of some seniors, death. By quitting smoking, you will decrease your risk of broken bones if you fall.
- Quitting smoking immediately helps your heart. Once you quit your chances of having a heart attack or a stroke decrease. You will also be able to breathe better which helps with exercise. The more you exercise, the healthier you become. Quitting smoking has a domino effect on your body by helping each part of it to become stronger.
- For some seniors the enjoyment they receive from smoking cigarettes may outweigh the health benefits if they feel they are at a point in life where they are no longer able to receive any enjoyment from other activities.
If you are interested in quitting smoking, many seniors are trying vaping. Electronic cigarettes can be purchased with low levels of nicotine or no nicotine at all. They have been show to be successful in helping many people to quit smoking. Speak with your healthcare provider about nicotine gum or nicotine patches. Join a community or online group that revolves around quitting smoking. There is help out there. Quitting smoking can improve your quality of life and help you to age better.