Are You Turning 50 in a Few Years? Here’s Why You Need to Quit Smoking ASAP
“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” You may have spent several years of your adult life addicted to smoking, but it’s never too late to quit smoking. And, there are a bunch of reasons, why giving up cigarettes before you turn 50 will be one of the smartest decisions you make in your life.
Why You Need to Quit Smoking Before You Turn 50?
Recent research states that smokers can live a long and healthy life just like nonsmokers if they manage to quit, a few years before they turn 50.
While smoking is harmful at any age, giving it up before you reach 50 can help you enjoy a better quality of life, in your adult years. Smokers who quit 15 years before 50 were able to regain their health as well as people, who have never smoked a single cigar in all their life.
The study which was conducted on over 21,000 smokers aged 50 and older found out that people who quit in their middle ages were able to regain the two years of their life that was lost to smoking. They went on to live as long and as healthy as people who never smoked.
What Smoking Does to an Elderly Person’s Body?
Smoking is harmful at any age, but the harmful impacts are the most seen as you grow older. Cigarettes and other tobacco products contain several harmful chemicals that keep you addicted. These carcinogens slowly deteriorate your body, and can slowly kill you. The issues arising from smoking creep up faster on an older person, compared to the youth.
Carcinogens in Cigarettes
Carcinogens are cancer-causing chemicals that are present in cigarettes and other smoked tobacco products. The carcinogens present in cigarettes include:
- Nicotine – This is a highly addictive chemical that naturally occurs in tobacco plants. Quitting nicotine addiction is as hard as quitting heroin.
- Carbon monoxide – Highly poisonous.
- Lead – A harmful heavy metal that should not be introduced in your bloodstream at high levels.
- Formaldehyde – A toxic chemical that is primarily used for treating wood and carpeting.
Apart from these, there are hundreds of other harmful chemicals in each puff of smoke you inhale.
Physical Harm Smoking Does to Your Body, As You Grow Older
- Wrinkles and dry skin
Smoking dries out your skin, making it less elastic, which in turn causes wrinkles.
- Erectile Dysfunction – it increases the risk of not being able to maintain or not being able to develop an erection.
- Reduces muscle tone – smoking quickens the deterioration of your body, reducing your muscle strength, causing weakening of limbs and general body strength.
- Accumulation of mucus in lungs – smoking causes thick, dark mucus to accumulate on the surface of your lungs. This causes coarse coughs and throat irritation. Your overall lung function and circulatory system weaken.
- Weakening of the immune system – the highly toxic chemicals present in cigarettes and other tobacco products weaken your immune system. This makes it difficult for your body to bounce back to normalcy, especially as you are prone to various illnesses and fatal diseases in your senior years.
- Fatal Illnesses - You increase the risks of contracting cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and heart attacks.
- Lack of Energy – smoking takes a toll on your body and reduces your stamina and energy levels. It also affects you psychologically, making your self-esteem plummet.
It’s Never Too Late to Quit Smoking
You may have smoked for years, but did you know that the benefits of quitting smoking kick-start within 20 minutes of your last puff?
Most seniors know that smoking is harmful, and may have even tried unsuccessfully to quit (often several times). Breaking free from the cigarette is a goal that still eludes thousands of elder smokers.
Here, we offer you five tips to quit smoking for older adults:
1. Distance yourself from Triggers
Very often, smokers are tempted to puff, when they are around certain triggers. This can be a group of friends, certain family members, alcohol or even certain places and memories. Figure out your trigger and take a conscious decision to avoid it in your daily life.
2. Keep Alternative Snacks Handy
Something as simple as chewing gum or sucking hard candy can help you reduce your need to smoke. Seniors can carry around healthy snacks like a box of almonds, hard candy or sugar-free chewing gum, in their pockets or purse and reach for it when a craving hits.
3. Ask for Support
As seniors, surrounding yourself with loved family members and friends might be the extra push that you need to quit smoking. Get support from your partner, children, or grandchildren and help them be your mentor in your journey to break free.
4. Take up Hobbies
Starting a new hobby or getting back to an old pastime can distract you from the urge to take up a smoke. Engaging in healthy activities like walks, puzzles or board games not only help you quit smoking, but keeps your brain engaged and active. Remember to continue with your hobbies, as keeping yourself engaged is one of the things to do after quitting smoking.
5. Get through it, One Day at a Time
Quitting smoking cold-turkey is highly challenging. You may experience withdrawal symptoms and other side-effects of quitting smoking. Don’t step long targets. Instead, take it one day at a time, and working slowly but steadily is the best approach to quit smoking.
Here are a few products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that might help you to quit smoking.
- The nicotine patch: It is a small patch that delivers a steady amount of nicotine into your body through the skin. This decreases the urge of smoking. It’s easily available at local drugstores.
- Nicotine gum: The gum contains a small amount of nicotine that helps you to curb sudden nicotine cravings. It is consumed through the lining of your mouth and works within 5-10 minutes if used correctly.
- Nicotine lozenges: These are tablets that contain 2-4 mg amount of nicotine. You need to place the tablet between your gum line and cheek and suck it slowly until it dissolves. It doesn’t require chewing.
- The nicotine inhaler: It is a device that helps you take a puff, nicotine vapour is released from a cartridge inside the device. This is helpful when you have an urge to smoke.
- Organic smokes: Organic smoking refers to the blend of herbs and plant materials including rose petals and spearmint leaves. It is usually free from nicotine and is harmless.
It may be Hard, but it’s Certainly worth It
Breaking free from a lifetime of smoking is indeed difficult. But, the incredible benefits your body and mind receive are certainly worth it. On this year’s No Smoking Day, which falls on 13th March, take a pledge to break free from your tobacco addiction forever.