58 THE QUEENS COURIER • HEALTH • AUGUST 2, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Think you’re too old to quit smoking? Think again
It’s no secret that tobacco smoke can
be deadly. It is strongly linked to everything
from cancer and stroke to pulmonary
issues and heart disease.
Although the prevalence of smoking
in the U.S. decreased from 21 percent
to 17 percent of adults over the
past fi ve years, according to America’s
Health Rankings, the risk of dying from
cigarette smoking has not decreased. In
fact, the risk has increased over the past
50 years, and, according to the Centers
for Disease Control (CDC), one in fi ve
deaths is estimated to be attributed to
One reason it’s still so deadly is that
tobacco addiction is tough to break.
Much of the dramatic drop in smoking
rates over the past quarter century is due
not to people quitting but to fewer starting
in the fi rst place.
Even as overall smoking rates have
declined, the rate has hardly budged
among those 65 and older. Nearly 9 percent
of adults aged 65 and older were regular
smokers in 2017, meaning more than
4 million older adults could benefi t from
kicking the habit.
Several common misconceptions
about smoking and older adults persist.
Eliminating these is an essential step in
helping long-time smokers quit once and
Misconception 1: After smoking
for decades, quitting
won’t make much of a diff erence
to someone’s health.
Truth: Quitting smoking later in life
can reduce the risk of diseases like cancer
and chronic obstructive pulmonary
disorder, according to Everyday Health.
And people who quit in their 60s are likely
to live longer than those who continue
to smoke. Additionally, the CDC says,
stopping smoking can benefi t most major
parts of your body - including improving
blood fl ow to help wounds heal properly,
and even keeping hearing and night
Misconception 2: Older smokers
have a more challenging time
quitting than younger smokers.
Truth: While older smokers are less
likely to attempt quitting, studies quoted
at ScienceDirect.com show they are
more likely to be successful than younger
smokers when they do attempt to quit.
Th at doesn’t mean smoking is necessarily
easier to quit as people get older, but age
itself shouldn’t be an obstacle.
Misconception 3: Changes in
an older smoker’s lifestyle
make it harder to quit.
Truth: Older smokers are oft en making
major changes in their lives, from retiring
to downsizing their home to making
room in their lives for grandchildren. Th ese
changes oft en trigger natural shift s in perspectives
and behaviors that can be useful
in quitting. Th e prospect of babysitting
a new grandchild or visiting a long-awaited
vacation destination can be a powerful
motivator to put away cigarettes for good.
Misconception 4: Older smokers
have a harder time fi nding
support to help them quit.
Truth: Medicare covers eight smoking
cessation counseling sessions every 12
months at no cost to individuals as long
they visit a Medicare-participating provider.
In addition, Medicare Part D and
many Medicare Advantage plans with
prescription drug coverage will cover
medications that can help with nicotine
withdrawal, providing extra help to battle
cravings. Th ere are also many phone and
online resources free to individuals ready
to stop smoking or quit tobacco use.
The bottom line
Research not only shows that people
can still reap health benefi ts when they
quit later in life, but also that once an
older person has made up their mind
to quit, they have a good chance of success.
A smoke-free life can be yours at