Smoking and tobacco in the United States dates back to 1609. That’s when John Rolfe boarded the Sea Venture bound for Virginia. It was John Rolfe’s experiments with growing tobacco, and marriage to Pocahontas, that developed the first profitable export and put Virginia on the world map.
The tide has turned in the United States. Smoking is no longer considered “cool” or “hip” but is recognized as the danger that it is. Many seniors, however, took up smoking when little was known of the dangers and peer pressure was strong to “light up”. Take heart, baby boomers. It’s never too late to quit.
The dangers of tobacco smoking are innumerable. Here is a partial list:
- It’s one of the leading causes of preventable death around the world. At least one half of lifelong smokers die as a result of the habit. On average life-long smokers lose 13 to 15 years of life.
- Smoking increases the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and many other health problems.
- Secondary smoke jeopardizes the health of others.
- Impotence is 85% more likely in male smokers than nonsmokers.
- Smokers often have bad breath and stained teeth.
- Smokers have higher stress levels.
Top Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Quitting may be difficult but consider the benefits:
- The damage to your body will cease and it will gradually start to repair itself.
- The risk of heart attack will be cut in half after one year.
- You’ll have whiter teeth and cleaner breath.
- Your sex life may improve.
- If you are susceptible to asthma, you’ll have fewer attacks.
- You’ll feel an overall increase in health and well-being.
- You’ll stop endangering those around you.
- Smoking is expensive; you’ll save money.
How to Stop Smoking
You’ll have to see what works best for you, but many people have testified to the efficacy of these methods:
- Be determined; it takes commitment.
- Write down the reasons you want to quit. Keep the list handy and refer to it from time to time.
- If you decide to go “cold turkey” choose a quit date and announce it to your family and friends.
- Remove cigarettes, ashtrays, and anything else that will remind you of smoking from your home.
- Use nicotine patches or nicotine gum.
- Do something else with your mouth: drink water, suck mints, snack, chew gum.
- Do something else with your hands: come up with alternatives to fiddle with such as worry beads, a pen, a rubber ball.
- When you feel like smoking, exercise: walk, jog, do calisthenics.
- Get help and support from family and friends.
- If you slip up, try again. Many ex-smokers have testified that it took them multiple efforts to quit.
Need help? Medicare also recognizes the health risks of smoking and tobacco use. Your Medicare benefits include cessation counseling. Most Medicare Advantage plans also offer assistance to help you quit. So look into it!
Save your life… stop smoking today!