Great American Smokeout: Is Quitting Smoking as a Senior Worth It?

While the dangers and risks of smoking are well known, millions of Americans still puff cigarettes daily. A survey in 2018 revealed that 13.7% (34.2 million) of all adults in the U.S. were cigarette smokers. While a significant portion of those who engage in the vice are willing and want to stop, some think it’s too late for them, especially those 50 and older.

Even if you have been smoking for decades and you are yet to experience any side effects, it turns out that quitting, even later in life, comes with a range of benefits. You need to understand that you can quit smoking at any moment, regardless of your age.

Since quitting smoking is a challenging task, the Great American Smokeout event, which takes place on the third Thursday in November (November 19, 2020), provides seniors with a chance to join thousands of people who want to start a new chapter of a healthier cigarette-free life. For older adults who don’t think that quitting right now matters, here are some reasons why it’s worth it.

Reduced Risk of Heart Attack, Stroke and Cancer

Smoking puts you at risk of vast health problems, including cancer, stroke and heart attack. While it is possible to get any of these conditions at any age, the ailments have a more severe effect on older people. This is because as you age, your body’s ability to fight diseases diminishes. Therefore, even if you’ve been smoking your entire life, stopping when you hit 60 is still worth it. When you decide to quit smoking as a senior, it will lower the risks of having diseases that you could avoid.

Decreased Risk of Bone Fractures

Smoking can increase the chances of developing weak bones (osteoporosis). Research done in Sweden revealed that senior women who had smoked over ten years displayed a higher rate of bone fractures than those who have never smoked and those that stopped smoking later in life. As people age, the risk of falls becomes prevalent. If you or a loved on are a smoker, the chances of breaking a bone with a fall are higher.

Other Health Benefits

Smoking is associated with several respiratory disorders such as pneumonia, bronchitis and emphysema. It also elevates the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and eye disease. It can also affect blood circulation, cause muscle tiredness, increase wrinkles and make wounds slower to heal. When you decide to stop smoking, you’ll be safeguarding your body against many of these conditions. Seniors who quit smoking can start feeling alive again, and they can manage to exercise without too much struggle.

Boosts Life Expectancy

According to the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study documented in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, seniors who gave up cigarettes in their 60s have a lower chance of dying than those who kept smoking. The research found that individuals who decided to quit smoking in their 60s had a 23% lower risk of death than those that continued to smoke. Since smoking is strongly connected to various ailments, quitting can help you avoid many of them and increase your mortality.

Improved Senses

Smoking is known to affect various senses, especially those of smell and taste. When you quit smoking, you’ll start to relish the smell and taste of things. The dull taste and smell of smoke you’re used to will be far gone, and you will begin finding food irresistible and delicious. During your later years in life, loss of appetite is something common. If your sense of smell and taste are also compromised by smoking, your appetite could be suppressed even further.

Saves You Money

Although the money used to buy cigarettes may seem negligible, the cost of cigarettes adds up quickly over time. When you quit smoking, you can save the cash and use it to travel or do other things you enjoy.