doctor holding quit smoking signOver 4.4 million seniors older than 65 smoke cigarettes regularly. Each cigarette smoked exposes the body to over 7,000 different chemicals that can cause harm to almost every organ. Some of these chemicals include carbon monoxide, methane and acetone.

Kicking this habit is not easy but recommended, especially for the elderly. According to a study published in BMC Geriatrics, smoking can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in seniors.

It’s never too late to quit smoking! Here are a few reasons why it may be the right time to consider giving it up for good.

1. Lower Your Disease Risk

No matter your age, smoking cessation can improve overall health. Every time you inhale cigarette smoke, you cause damage to your airways and lungs.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those who smoke are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than nonsmokers. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease blocks your airflow and makes it difficult to breathe.

Cigarettes damage blood vessels and increase your blood pressure. After quitting smoking, your risk of dying from lung disease drops by half. You can also lower your risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

FACT: Smoking increases the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease by 2 to 4 times.

2. Improve Your Senses

If you’re an avid smoker, you may have noticed a negative effect on your senses. The harmful chemicals in cigarettes can decrease the production of your sensory cells that contribute to your smell and taste.

Not only does this make your favorite foods less enjoyable, but it can also be dangerous in certain situations. Without smell or taste, you may be unable to detect gas leaks or smoke from a fire.

FACT: Your smell and taste can start to improve within 48 hours of quitting smoking!

3. Avoid Blood Clots

Older people are already at risk for poor blood circulation. On top of this, smoking can be very detrimental to the health of your blood flow. Quitting smoking can make your blood thinner and improve its circulation throughout the body. It also makes you less likely to form dangerous blood clots.

FACT: Blood circulation can improve 2 to 12 weeks after quitting smoking.

4. Lead a Better Lifestyle

Smoking impacts your overall lifestyle and those around you. By quitting, you will not only protect your family and friends from inhaling secondhand smoke but they can also stop worrying about your health.

To keep you motivated to reach your goal, identify your reason for wanting to quit. Speak with your doctor about counseling, medication and other options to help you be successful.

Also try staying busy with a new hobby or carrying around gum to munch on when a craving kicks in. Take back control of your time and make the decision to quit today!

FACT: On average, heavy smokers spend almost two and a half hours smoking cigarettes a day.
To learn more about improving senior health, contact Avon Health Center today.