Going cold turkey is one of the most important things a senior can do to improve their overall health and reduce the risk of developing serious health conditions.
Smoking is a common habit that is hard to quit. However, for seniors, the negative health effects of smoking can be particularly harmful. How can seniors in Australia take advantage of the benefits of going cold turkey and quitting smoking altogether?
The dangers of smoking
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Australia. Smoking can lead to a range of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and respiratory diseases. For seniors, the health risks associated with smoking can be even greater because of a weaker immune system and reduced lung capacity. Smoking can also lead to reduced mobility, increased frailty, and a lower quality of life in old age.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics detailed the danger Aussies face from smoking in its 2021-2022 Smoker Status Australia report, with the data pooled from the National Health Survey, Survey of Income and Housing, the National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, and Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers.
When broken down by age group, the study pointed out 16.3 percent of male smokers were from 55 to 64 years old, but that percentage went down to 9.2 percent for the 65-74 demographic and 3.8 percent overall for men at least 75 years old. The 55-64 age group comprised the most percentage of polled women at 11.5 percent, going down to 6.5 percent at 65-74 years old and 2.3 percent for over 75s.
The current federal administration is also making a tougher push against tobacco addiction in line with commemorating a decade of implementing the world’s first tobacco plain-packaging law, by proposing legislation to combine all existing tobacco measures with 11 new measures to combat the proliferation of more tobacco products, including vapes.
Going cold turkey
Going cold turkey refers to quitting or giving up a habit, addiction, or behavior abruptly and completely without any gradual reduction or weaning off. For example, quitting smoking “cold turkey” means to stop smoking immediately without tapering down or using nicotine replacement therapy.
Quitting smoking altogether can be a challenging process, but it is one of the most effective ways to kick the habit. The benefits of quitting smoking may include:
Improved respiratory health
Quitting smoking can improve lung function and reduce the risk of respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema. It can also help reduce the severity of existing respiratory conditions. The pandemic may also be an added warning sign to stop smoking due to the danger of reduced lung capacity, noted Brain and Life.
Reduced risk of heart disease
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. Quitting smoking can help improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
Improved immune system
Smoking weakens the immune system and can make seniors more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Quitting smoking can help improve the immune system and reduce the risk of infection.
Better quality of life
Smoking can reduce mobility, increase frailty, and lead to a lower quality of life in old age. Quitting smoking can help improve overall health, mobility, and independence, leading to a better quality of life. According to the Cancer Council, recovery may start as early as 12 hours after you smoke, hopefully, your last cigarette, when it is estimated that all nicotine is purged from your body.
Tips for going cold turkey
There are things seniors can do to make the process easier. Here are some tips:
Set a quit date
Choose a specific date to quit smoking and mark it on a calendar. This will give you a goal to work towards and help keep you motivated.
Identify the triggers that make you want to smoke and try to avoid them. For example, if you usually smoke after a meal, try going for a walk instead. You may also politely avoid people smoking nearby as second-hand smoke is just as lethal to the body.
Tell family and friends about your decision to quit smoking and ask for their support. Joining a support group or speaking with a healthcare professional can also provide valuable support and guidance. Quitline may also be a vital asset to have, as its confidential support service can guide you with a proper roadmap.
Find new habits
Replace smoking with healthier habits such as exercise, reading, or spending time with loved ones. These new habits can help keep you busy and distracted from the urge to smoke.
Set small goals and reward yourself when you achieve them. For example, treat yourself to a nice meal or a new book when you reach one week smoke-free.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Quitting smoking is one of the best things a senior can do to improve their overall health and quality of life. If you’re looking to improve your retirement lifestyle, consider our equity release solutions as part of your Retirement Plan.
Our ASAG Reverse Mortgage doesn’t require ongoing payments, and the loan is only repaid when you permanently leave your home by downsizing, moving to residential care, or passing away.
The ASAG team is available to answer your questions and provide assistance through phone or email. Our lines are open on 1300 002 724 and at email@example.com so you can contact us or send your enquiries at any time.
You can also assess your available equity using our tool below.