Quitting Smoking

Human fist breaking cigarettes on white background

Changing lifestyles can be difficult for anyone at any age, but quitting for older folks can present a unique set of challenges. Sometimes we think to ourselves “I’m too old for that” – the same may go for smoking. Perhaps you’ve tried to quit before. Perhaps you’ve been smoking for so long, it’s become habitual or comforting. Whatever your reason for continuing, you have the power within yourself to make that change.

Being smoke free has many health benefits, and contrary to what people might think, quitting even when you’re older can impact your health substantially. After just one year after quitting, your risk of heart disease can drop by half. After 3 years, your chance of developing lung cancer is some 30% lower than if you continued.

But even if you know about the benefits of quitting, it’s not that easy. Here are some tips to help you out.

Tips for Quitting Smoking

Think About What Triggers your Habit

When do you smoke? Under what circumstances do you smoke? Knowing your habits can help you eliminate those patterns of behaviour. Do you smoke when you’re stressed? Do you smoke after dinner?

Think about what can you do as a distraction as a replacement for smoking. If you stress smoke, think about other ways to take out your stress. Perhaps a fun activity or even chewing on a piece of gum can provide a bit of a distraction from your craving.


Getting more physical activity has been shown to help people quit smoking. Not only does it provide a great distraction, it also helps relieve stress which can help you ward off your habit. Research has shown the greater the intensity the exercise, the fewer cravings you get. So get your jogging pants on!

Try Nicotine Products

There are a variety of products out on the market including inhalers, gum, patches, nasal sprays, and lozenges. You can experiment with items to see if there’s a good fit for you. Though many note that it’s not the ‘real thing’, these substitutes can make the transition to being smoke-free that much easier.

Avoid the “Just one last one” Mentality

We do it all the time – thinking that “just one more” won’t hurt. But one turns into two, and two turns into a few, and a few turns into a pack. Try to remember your goal. Stay focused.

Tell Your Friends and Family

Support from friends and family can be a great help when you’re trying to make any life change. Share with them, and you might be surprised. When those around you are aware of what you’re trying to do, they can provide you with encouragement or even advice.

Educate Yourself

Online materials, support groups, and other resources are available to help you quit. If you’d like additional resources, see the government of Canada provides a list of resources available in your area. See the link here: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/quit-cesser/now-maintenant/index-eng.php

It truly is never too late to quit. Once you do, you can enjoy increased energy, well-being, and overall standard of life. Happy Quitting!

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