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Healthy Habits: Quit smoking and you can enjoy many immediate health benefits

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 02:31 PM

Are you thinking about quitting smoking, but wonder if it really matters at your 'mature' age? Have you had thoughts like these?

N 'But, I've been smoking for 50 years.'

N 'The damage has already been done.'

N 'Why shouldn't I enjoy my cigarettes? It doesn't really matter at my age.' The truth is, it does matter.

Seniors who quit smoking tend to enjoy better health and quality of life than their peers who continue to smoke. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that you're never too old to benefit from quitting smoking. The 2012 study looked at results from 17 studies conducted in seven countries. The results show that even seniors lived longer if they were willing to part with their cigarettes.

According to the American Lung Association, older smokers face greater risks from smoking because they have smoked for several decades, they tend to be heavier smokers than younger people and they are more likely to suffer from smoking-related illnesses.

Many people do not realize that smoking cessation has immediate as well as longterm benefits. Here are some benefits found in individuals, both young and old, who stop smoking:

In one day:

* Blood circulation increases.
* Carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease.
* Heart rate and blood pressure decrease.
* The risk of having a heart attack decreases.
* In several days to several weeks:
* Sense of taste and smell improves.
* Lung capacity increases.
* Breathing becomes easier.
* Long-term benefits:
* Risk of heart disease and lung cancer decreases. (Risk can eventually be similar to that of a lifelong nonsmoker.)
* Risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus , larynx, bladder , pancreas, and kid ney decreases.
* Risk of dying decreases The bottom line is regardless of when you quit, there are significant benefits to your decision!

Healthy Habits 2013 is a partnership among Cabell Huntington Hospital, Marshall University, Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and St. Mary's Medical Center. We are a community working together to improve our health. Check out a 'Healthy Habits' tip every Friday in The Herald-Dispatch.