Retirement is a time everyone dreams about – the time when you finally do the things you love and fulfill your dreams (if you haven’t yet). Also, during retirement, people have much more concentration because they no longer have to worry about working.
Having more free time is most likely the reason why many retirees have a much easier time quitting smoking for good than their employed counterparts.
The newfound freedom and opportunity to chase their personal interests make it easy to focus on kicking the habit of cigarettes.
While it’s an ideal time, retirement also brings a huge set of challenges – quitting smoking late may have caused complications to your health after decades of not stopping.
Chat to an Aussie GP today
Bulk-billed phone consultations
TGA-authorised Aussie doctors
Nicotine vaping scripts available
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at how retirement makes it easier to quit smoking.
An Almost Stress-Free Lifestyle Helps Quitting
Every employee dreams of retirement, a time when they can spend more time with their children and loved ones and pursue goals they’ve put off during employment. For most people, not stressing about anything at all every day.
The absence of long commutes, stress, deadlines, and pressures is probably the reason why retirees find it much easier to quit than their employed counterparts.
According to a study, retirees find it easier to kick the habit with the lifestyle changes brought about by their pension age.
Addiction, including nicotine consumption, is reinforced by triggers and repeated actions and habits – feeling the stress at work, smokers pop outside to the same spot and light up a ciggie – numerous times a day, every day.
The absence of that stress and other pressures, combined with new routines, might make it easier to cut ties with ciggies.
A Deeper Understanding of Your Health Vulnerabilities
As we grow older, we quickly realise how much our health is our true wealth. Getting healthier is a priority for most people when they retire, and during that age, they would want to understand their health vulnerabilities much better.
Unfortunately, if you haven’t stopped smoking before you’ve reached retirement, you’re at a high risk of developing (or already having) the following health problems:
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic lung disease that affects the airways and makes breathing difficult. People at their retirement age or beyond who haven’t stopped smoking years before could have chronic bronchitis and emphysema – two of COPD’s main conditions.
The primary cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, but long-term exposure to other lung irritants such as air pollution, chemical fumes, and dust can also contribute to the development of the disease. And, as you age, COPD’s symptoms become much more severe and lethal.
As you grow older, your heart and cardiovascular systems can grow weaker. Consistent smoking will damage the blood vessels and increase the risk of heart diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
It also contributes to the development of atherosclerosis – a condition characterized by plaque buildup in the arteries, which increases the risk of high blood pressure and possible aneurysm.
It goes without saying that the older you get, the higher your risk of having lung cancer. And if you continuously smoke, the risk gets higher.
Cigarettes are the primary cause of lung cancer, accounting for most cases. It damages the cells in the lungs and can lead to the development of cancerous tumors.
Why Quit Smoking Before You Retire?
Retirement may increase your chances of kicking the habit, but it pays to quit much earlier and ensure you actually get to enjoy your retirement (if you get there at all).
Quitting early, about two or three decades before your retirement age or even earlier, gives you plenty of advantages.
When you quit smoking, you can save over $10,000 every year from ciggies. With the increasing taxes and costs of tobacco, quitting early lets you save up for your child’s college fund, a brand new campervan, or a 6-month trip around Europe. Take your pick.
Furthermore, by quitting early, you can restore your health back to your pre-smoking days, even after retirement. Younger bodies, even under the duress and anxiety of work, recover much faster physically and can have better-looking skin after quitting smoking.
Within a year or more of quitting cigarettes, you’ll be much better at exercise, hiking, and mental activities when you get older because of your healthier body.
How Helpful Is Vaping for Retirees Trying to Quit Nicotine?
Many retired older adults may have switched to vaping or nicotine vaping products (NVPs) as a means to quit smoking and avoid inhaling the dangerous chemicals of burnt tobacco.
NVPs are a helpful tool for smoking cessation, with the latest Cochrane Review finding high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
But, it’s very important to choose the responsible and trusted options found under prescription in your local pharmacy, as the presence of lethal chemicals in the illegal NVPs sold under the counter in corner stores and tobacconists make these illicit options just as bad as smoking.
NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
A retiree, or anyone at all, who is fully committed to kicking the habit must go through a smoking cessation journey that pursues eventual nicotine abstinence by using NRT and NVPs from pharmacies as quitting tools.
Getting Started on Your Quit Journey
The data shows that most retirees find it easier to quit smoking with their newfound freedom and motivation. Anyone, including retirees, will greatly benefit from working with a GP on their quit journey.
GPs have guided many ex-smokers to remain smokefree for years or decades. They can give you a smoking cessation programme with your possible withdrawal and craving intensity in mind.
Factoring those in, they can prescribe NRT products to cushion your cravings and withdrawals by providing a small amount of nicotine without the dangers of smoking cigarettes.
If NRT products don’t work well for you, GPs can prescribe NVPs from pharmacies as a second-line solution. These products focus more on imitating various aspects of cigarettes, such as the throat hit and hand-to-mouth gestures associated with smoking, without the harms that come from inhaling tobacco smoke.
Smoking is truly much easier to quit during retirement as former employees are free from the stresses of a professional lifestyle. However, quitting early years before retirement ensures retirees won’t have to face significant health issues and get more out of life doing the things they love and want to pursue.
We know you’re reading this because you’re about to reach retirement and want to stop smoking. We can help.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.