Smoking Cessation for Older Adults: It's Not Too Late!
by Amy Scholten, MPH
"But I have been smoking for 45 years."
"The damage has already been done."
"Why shouldn't I enjoy my cigarettes? It does not matter at my age."
The truth is, it does matter.
Health Benefits and More
Quitting smoking has many benefits. This is true even if you are older and have smoked for a long time.
Short -term Benefits
As soon as you stop smoking, your body begins to heal itself. Short term benefits happen in days, weeks, and months. They include:
Over time, quitting smoking lowers the risk of:
Perhaps you already have a long-term disease. Quitting smoking can still help. It may make symptoms less severe. It can keep you healthier longer.
Quitting smoking is also good for the skin. It can help wounds heal faster. It can also help prevent wrinkles.
"But I have been smoking for 45 years!" you say. "I'll never be able to quit smoking at this point."
Actually, older smokers are often more successful at quitting. This is especially true if they have health problems from smoking. It also helps to ask your doctor for help.
Preparing to Quit
Learn How to Handle Stress
Many people go back to smoking when a crisis hits. This can happen even years after quitting. Plan ahead for how you will handle a stressful event such as a death, divorce, retirement, illness, etc. That way, you will not be caught off guard.
Most ex-smokers try to quit several times before they are successful. If you start smoking again, do not beat yourself up. Learn from your setbacks. Get right back on the program. It is not too late!
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Canadian Lung Association
Benefits of quitting. Smoke Free website. Available at: https://smokefree.gov/quit-smoking/why-you-should-quit/benefits-of-quitting . Accessed October 13, 2021.
Counseling for tobacco cessation. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/counseling-for-tobacco-cessation. Accessed October 13, 2021.
Quitting smoking for older adults. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/quitting-smoking-older-adults. Accessed October 13, 2021.
Smoking cessation strategies for hospitalized patients. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/smoking-cessation-strategies-for-hospitalized-patients-16. Accessed October 13, 2021.
Last reviewed October 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 10/13/2021
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