The plethora of anti-smoking PSAs in the media make it hard to avoid the many reasons not to smoke. Many people know that those who smoke cigarettes are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer. Those who smoke later in life may believe it is “too late” for them to quit, since they will always be at risk.
Some also fear quitting because of the irritability, nervousness, lifestyle changes, and weight gain that may come with withdrawal. These factors, however, are temporary, and there are many more benefits to smoking cessation that show it is never too late to quit.
Health Benefits of Quitting (No Matter Your Age!)
Your body will start reaping the benefits of smoking cessation within an hour of your last cigarette. There is an immediate drop in blood pressure, nerve endings begin to regenerate, and soon you will be relieved with less coughing and easier breathing.
Just one day without smoking lessens your risk for a heart attack, but after three days, you may start to feel symptoms of withdrawal. This could include irritability, headaches, and strong cravings. These symptoms will ease as your body readjusts.
Bearing with withdrawal discomforts will mean that, after one year, your chance of heart disease decreases by 50%. After 10 years of smoking cessation, your chances of lung cancer are also cut in half, no matter the number of years you have smoked. Cancer patients that didn’t quit smoking until after diagnosis still had a better chance of healing, and their cancer treatment was more effective.
You Are Not Alone
Quitting can be daunting — it can even feel pointless, but the internet can help you find camaraderie. Many people above the age of 60 have made the decision to quit smoking and share how they got through the toughest parts.
Former smoker Lisa, for example, told Smokefree that she attempted to quit three times within 45 years. This did not discourage her. She wanted to breathe easier, so she made a plan to quit, and her fourth time was the charm!
You may recognize some celebrities that quit later in life. Whoopi Goldberg smoked for 50 years but did not want to take her lungs for granted, so she decided to quit. Friends star Jennifer Anniston also quit smoking after smoking for 20 years and used yoga to cope with withdrawal. Every person that quits smoking has their own motivation and end goal. Your journey may be different, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
Ways to Quit
There are many different ways to get on the path of cessation, including:
- Finding more hobbies and distractions to cope with withdrawal
- Brainstorming a quit plan that is comfortable for you
- Gathering information on how others quit smoking
- Going to therapy, or a support group
- Talking with a trusted friend
- Talking to your doctor
Previously mentioned former smoker Lisa told Smokefree that she made a list of 100 things she could do instead of smoking: “For example, go to a yoga class, plant a garden, make a new recipe using food from the garden, start a blog, read a book, etc.” Others use the money they save on cigarettes to buy something they enjoy, or spend their extra time with family, friends, and new-found hobbies.
At Outpatient Imaging Culpeper, we offer convenient and affordable access to CT lung scans — a great tool to detect lung cancer in its early stages. For more information, contact one of Outpatient Imaging Culpeper’s healthcare experts. We are dedicated to providing quality image services, and excellent customer service. You can visit our website or call us at (540) 321-3190.