It’s a killer — If you are a typical male smoker in your sixties or seventies, you began smoking at age 17 and have smoked about 27 cigarettes a day for 51 years. If you are a woman in the same range, you began smoking at around 24 and have been smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 45 years. And you have probably tried at least once or twice to quit like 80% of people who smoke.
Is it too late to quit? Absolutely not. Putting out that last cigarette as late as 60 to 80 can halt many of the worst effects of smoking. Yet 46% of older smokers don’t believe that smoking is that harmful or that quitting at this stage in their life is worthwhile. If you fall into that category consider this:
- Within eight hours of quitting, your pulse rate and blood pressure drop and oxygen levels in your body will rise.
- Within 24 hours of quitting, your risk of a heart attack decreases.
- After one month, your circulation improves, your energy levels surge and your lung function expands by up to 30%.
- After one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of someone who continues to smoke.
- After five years, your risk of having a stroke begins to decline.
- After 10 years, your chances of developing lung cancer are the same as that of someone who has never smoked.
Each time you take a puff you inhale more than 4,700 chemicals that have been shown to have effect throughout your body. Some of the milder effects are accelerated wrinkling of the skin, yellowing of the teeth and fingers and slower healing of wounds.
Here is a list of a few of those chemicals and what their common uses are:
- Acetone -paint stripper
- Ammonia – floor cleaner
- Arsenic – ant poison
- Butane – lighter fluid
- Cadmium – car batteries
- Carbon monoxide – car exhaust
- Formaldehyde – morgue preservative
- Methanol – anti-freeze
- Naphthalene – mothballs
- Nicotine – insecticide
- Polonium 210 – radioactive substance
Then along comes the really dangerous effects of smoking including increasing the risk of disabilities like osteoporosis, hip fractures, cataracts, diabetes, tooth loss, and emphysema.
Smoking causes fatal complications. Every year, more than 400,000 Americans die of smoking related causes. That adds up to more than 1,000 a day making this the most preventable cause of death in the United States. 50% of those deaths are caused by cardiovascular disease and 30% by lung cancer.
Smoking hurts your heart. If you quit your risk of a heart attack is reduced by 50% in one year.
Smoking tops the list of cancer risks. If you quit even at age 65, your risk of developing lung cancer by age 75 is less than half of someone who continues to smoke.
Smoking is an addiction plain and simple. Don’t blame yourself if you have tried several times to quit and failed. The prime ingredient in tobacco is Nicotine and is one of the most addictive drugs known to mankind. Is it hopeless? No. Many people have quit and so can you.
Here are a few tips to help you quit:
Set a quit date and stick to it. Expert’s report that those who set a definite date are more likely to stick with it. Avoid stressful times like holidays and don’t pick a date that is months away.
Quit cold turkey. If you do it this way, you will probably have a week to 10 days of withdrawal but then you’ll be almost over the hump.
Throw them away. On the date you quit, throw away all tobacco products. Every hidden cigarette should be ferreted out and disposed of. Get rid of lighters, matches and ashtrays as well.
Banish alcohol. Alcohol can affect your resolve and make it easier to light up again. You don’t have to quit alcohol forever, but spend at least of month of abstinence after you quit smoking.
Be prepared to fight the urges. As you go through withdrawal expect one or more of the following symptoms: upset stomach, difficulty concentrating, drowsiness, insomnia and irritability.
Once the nicotine is flushed from your body the withdrawal symptoms will gradually subside but they will probably never go away totally. That’s because one is never enough. If you smoke one you’ll smoke a dozen or more.
Change your rituals.
Short circuit stress.
Quit early in the week.
Stay in a smoke free world.
Give yourself daily pep talks.
Make a deal and reward yourself.
Save those bucks.
Stall for time — delay lighting up.
Cut down on caffeine.
Although going cold turkey is the best bet, if you must do it gradually, the important thing is to QUIT!