It’s estimated that nearly nine percent of those age 65 and older in the United States were smokers between 2013 and 2021. [1] Many seniors have smoked for the majority of their lives and may not realize the continued harm they are doing to their bodies. They can improve their health by quitting smoking. When senior adults stop smoking, there are many benefits for them and those around them, which is why it’s important for them to realize that it’s never too late to quit.

Consequences of Long-Term Smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control, long-term smoking causes [2]:

  • Cancer: Smoking can lead to lung cancer, mouth cancer, and other cancers such as stomach and pancreatic cancer.
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Smoking can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Lung Disease: Lung damage, such as bronchitis and emphysema, can make it difficult to breathe.
  • Diabetes: Smokers are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes which can become harder to control.
  • Respiratory Problems: Smoking can also give you a greater chance of developing other infections that can interfere with your breathing.
  • Osteoporosis: Smokers have a greater chance of developing osteoporosis.
  • Eye Disease: Long-term smoking can also increase the chance of developing eye disease and can lead to vision loss and blindness.

Smoking also increases the risk of tuberculosis and immune system problems. This is why it’s so important for senior adults to stop smoking as soon as possible.

What Happens When a Senior Adult Stops Smoking

Statistics show that it is never too late to stop smoking. Quitting smoking at any time improves your health, adds years to your life, and helps you breathe more easily. [3] There are also other benefits, such as lower risk of:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Lung disease

When seniors stop smoking, they also experience:

  • Improved blood circulation
  • Blood pressure dropping to lower levels
  • Improved breathing
  • Less coughing
  • Improved skin tone
  • Feeling fresher and smelling better without the smell of cigarette smoke

Statistics show that when people stop smoking, their risk for a heart attack drops sharply within one to two years of stopping. The risks of dying from lung cancer are reduced by half within 10 years of quitting smoking. Seniors who quit smoking also experience a better sense of smell and taste.

Quitting smoking is also the best way to protect family members and friends from the health risks associated with breathing in secondhand smoke. This is especially important for seniors who have grandchildren. Quitting smoking can not only protect their health but also set an example of how to live a healthy life and the importance of staying away from nicotine.

How to Help a Senior Adult Stop Smoking

If you have a senior citizen in your life who needs to stop smoking, there are several things you can do to help them:

Encourage Them Not to Go Cold Turkey

When seniors, or anyone of any age group, try to quit cold turkey, it can backfire. Instead of quitting altogether, suggest your loved one tapers off their smoking. They can start by smoking one less cigarette daily and then wean themselves down from there. Soon enough, they will have a reduced craving to smoke and should be able to quit more easily.

Ask a Doctor About Medication

Certain medications can be helpful for seniors to stop smoking. But you want to be sure that you consult with a doctor, even before starting any over-the-counter gum to stop smoking. You don’t want anything to help you deal with nicotine withdrawal to react negatively with current medications.

Look for Support

Finding others who are trying to quit smoking as well can provide the support needed to keep going. People in a support network can provide encouragement when needed. This can be just what someone needs to stay on track.

Take a Walk or Try a New Physical Activity

Rather than smoking, encourage a loved one to spend their time taking a walk or finding a new physical activity. They’ll soon discover that they can occupy their time with activities that make them feel good about themselves.

Once senior adults stop smoking, they will realize they have more time to try new hobbies, have increased energy, and feel healthier.

Living and Care Communities at Encore Communities

Encore Communities offers different levels of care for senior citizens. Seniors can take advantage of the various independent living, assisted living, home health care, and much more. Our goal is to help seniors live a productive life and take advantage of the amenities that our different communities have to offer. We also offer many opportunities for seniors to keep active and stray away from bad habits like smoking.

To learn more about Encore Communities, call us or reach out to us online.







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