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Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, says seniors may face unique challenges when it comes to quitting smoking, but quitting is possible – no matter your age.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is more harmful and harder to quit as people get older. However, seniors who quit smoking can still experience significant health benefits, such as reducing their risk of heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer and improving their quality of life.

Here are five tips from Affinity Health for seniors to stop smoking and kick the habit for good:

Get Support From Friends, Family, And Professionals 

Quitting smoking is not easy, and it often requires a combination of strategies and resources to overcome the physical and psychological dependence on nicotine. Seniors may benefit from seeking social support from loved ones who can encourage, motivate, and hold them accountable for their progress.


It can also be helpful to join a support group, either in person or online, where seniors can share their experiences, challenges, and successes with others going through the same process.


In addition, seniors can seek professional help from a healthcare provider, a quitline, or a smoking cessation programme, which can offer guidance, counselling, medication, and other resources to help seniors quit smoking and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy Or Medications 

To help seniors manage their cravings and withdrawal symptoms and increase their chances of success, they may consider using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or medications.


NRT products, such as patches, gum, lozenges, inhalers, and nasal sprays, can deliver small doses of nicotine to the body without the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. Medications can also help seniors reduce their craving for nicotine and improve their quit rates.


However, seniors should consult with their healthcare provider before using any NRT or medication, as they may have potential risks and side effects and may not be suitable for everyone.

Find Alternative Ways To Cope With Stress And Emotions 

Smoking can be a way for seniors to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, boredom, or other negative emotions. Therefore, quitting smoking may require seniors to find alternative ways to manage their mood and stress and address the underlying causes of their emotional distress.


Some options that seniors can try include relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga; physical activity, such as walking, gardening, or dancing; hobbies, such as reading, writing, or painting; or social activities, such as volunteering, travelling, or spending time with friends and family.


Seniors may also consider seeking help from a mental health professional if they feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with their emotions.

Make A Plan And Set A Quit Date 

To increase their chances of success, seniors should plan their quit attempts and set a quit date that is realistic, achievable, and specific.


Seniors can start by identifying their reasons for quitting, setting goals, and anticipating challenges. They can also prepare for the “quit day” by throwing away their cigarettes and ashtrays, choosing a smoke-free environment, and finding ways to distract themselves from smoking urges.


On the quit day, seniors can use their NRT or medications as directed and seek support from their social network, healthcare provider, or quitline. Seniors should also be patient and understanding with themselves, as quitting smoking is a process that may involve setbacks and relapses and requires perseverance and commitment.

Stay Smoke-Free And Prevent Relapse

After quitting smoking, seniors may face the risk of relapse, especially if they encounter triggers or stressors that can lead them to smoke again. Seniors should avoid places, people, and situations that may tempt them to smoke and keep cigarettes and other tobacco products out of reach. They should also be aware of different forms of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes, that may be marketed as safer or less addictive but can still contain nicotine and other harmful substances.


“Quitting smoking is a significant accomplishment that seniors can be proud of. They can reward themselves with non-food treats, such as a massage, a movie, or a trip, to celebrate their progress and motivate themselves to stay smoke-free. Seniors can also remind themselves of the benefits of quitting smoking, such as saving money, improving their health, and protecting their loved ones from secondhand smoke,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“Quitting smoking can be challenging and rewarding, requiring time, effort, and support. By following these tips and seeking help from qualified professionals, seniors can increase their chances of quitting smoking and enjoying a healthier and longer life,” concludes Hewlett.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health insurance provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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