5 Tips For Seniors Trying To Quit Smoking

Tim Watt  |  July 8, 2015

Smoking is a lifestyle habit that can lead to several life-threatening diseases. As this has become a well-known fact, an increasing number of people are trying to give up the habit. However, according to the American Cancer Society, more than 42 million adults smoked in 2012, highlighting the large number of people who continue to put their lives at risk. These adults can turn to tips from physicians and those who succeeded at quitting as they try to stop smoking.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that the mortality rate for those who smoke is three times higher than it is for people who don't smoke. The conditions directly related to smoking include respiratory disease, several forms of cancer and vascular disease. In total, the number of people who die from these side effects of smoking is around 480,000 a year, according to the news source. 

Although quitting can be especially challenging for seniors who have smoked their whole lives, it's essential that they seek help to stop as soon as possible, because as their bodies age, they become more vulnerable to heart disease and the cancers related to smoking. Here are five tips to assist older adults as they work toward stopping the habit:

"Many people find that factors like alcohol can trigger their craving for a cigarette."

1. Stay away from triggers
Many people find that factors like being around certain friends or family members and alcohol can trigger their cravings for a cigarette. Similarly, the Mayo Clinic pointed out that when adults are in certain places where they used to smoke, their desire to smoke again can increase. The news source noted the importance of figuring out which places, events or people trigger seniors' desires to smoke and coming up with a plan in case these situations do occur.

2. Carry a snack
Smokefree.gov explained that something as simple as chewing on gum, hard candy or a healthy snack like almonds whenever people want to smoke can reduce their chances of going for a cigarette. Seniors may want to start carrying their favorite snack on them in their pocket or purse at all times just in case they get hit with a craving. 

3. Surround yourself with support
Sometimes being around family and friends can give adults the extra push they need to say no to a cigarette. Children, grandchildren and other loved ones can serve as reminders of why adults quit in the first place, which may include their desire to live a longer life with their loved ones and protect them from secondhand smoke, according to Everyday Health. 

SometimesFamily can provide the inspiration adults need to quit smoking.

4. Engage in hobbies for distraction
Helpguide.org recommended that seniors start a new hobby or get back to an old pastime to distract themselves from the urge to smoke. Engaging in healthy activities such as going on runs or taking a walk with a pet will keep their minds off of smoking. Seniors residing at assisted living facilities can join clubs or programs that meet frequently to alleviate stress and keep them busy.

5. Get through it one day at a time
Quitting smoking is a difficult task that needs to be taken step by step. Everyday Health noted that it's more like a journey and that adults have to keep in mind that during the first few days it may seem like going without a cigarette is impossible. The news source pointed out that not everyone is able to quit cold turkey. Sometimes taking it one day at a time and slowly cutting back is the best approach, so seniors should find out what works for them. 

It's important to remember that after a lifetime of doing something, stopping is bound to be a challenge. Using these tips will make the process easier and can motivate seniors struggling to quit.

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