The biggest age group of smokers is over the age of 45. Unfortunately, statistics from Our World in Data shows that this is also the demographic that suffers from its effects the most – with smoking-related deaths significantly increasing after the age of 50. This fact is not surprising since cigarette smoking is a habit that reveals its ramifications the longer one smokes. As the immune system slows down with age, smoking-related risks become more imminent. You should be aware of the dangers and not ignore them.
THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING
For older adults who smoke, tobacco cigarettes can limit physical movement as they cause inflammation in the bones and joints. Increasing the body’s carbon dioxide levels and, conversely, reducing oxygen absorption, too much tobacco may lead to a weakness in the limbs and, eventually, a loss of muscle mass.
Several studies have also linked smoking tobacco to the deterioration of bone density. With osteoporosis already prevalent among the 50+ population, smoking can further aggravate the condition.
Chronic diseases and damage
According to researchers, cigarette smoke has over 7,000 toxic chemicals. When inhaled, this smoke damages the airways and adversely thickens the blood. Over time, tobacco has been the leading cause of preventable chronic diseases like certain cancers and heart problems. Furthermore, smoking can also heighten the risk of cognitive issues.
A study by The Translational Genomics Research Institute has linked smoking with dementia, impairing memory, and thinking ability.
Besides the more dreaded internal damage smoking causes, the habit can also profoundly impact mature skin. Smoking restricts blood flow, and fewer nutrients reach the skin, resulting in less hydration and moisture.
Tobacco’s chemicals also break down collagen, reducing skin elasticity and promoting the formation of wrinkles. Smoking also impairs the skin’s regenerative properties, delaying the healing of wounds and scars. It’s also known to trigger psoriasis, which you can recognize as red, itchy rashes that appear all over the body. For those concerned with appearance, mature skin needs extra maintenance. Continuing to smoke will only make the upkeep more challenging.
HOW TO COMBAT THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are an option.
The British Medical Journal found that older American smokers are more likely to relapse and often require interventions to stop the habit. This relapse has increased the demand for NRT products that curb cravings and combat withdrawal symptoms. An example is the On! nicotine pouches featured on Prilla, which are smokeless and tobacco-free. These porous pouches come in different flavors, such as wintergreen, which provides a lip-tingling effect like smoking but is more discreet.
For non-oral NRT options, Habitrol offers transdermal patches that you can wear on the skin for 24 hours. These patches have been utilized as a non-intrusive way to wean off long-time smokers. Because older people tend to smoke heavier amounts, their bodies have higher nicotine dependence, making such transitionary NRTs crucial to cessation.
Nicotine cravings are difficult to ignore for many older smokers. The absence of nicotine in the system may create behavioral changes and mood swings.
Fortunately, physical activity proves to be effective in decreasing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It serves as a distraction. Moderate exercise increases dopamine levels like a nicotine hit. Exercising also replenishes the body’s nutrients by introducing more oxygen into the system.
Therefore, older smokers would find that even a small amount of regular exercise can lower the risk of diseases from years of smoking. Incorporating a regular program, like walking daily, can reduce the chances of lung cancer and heart disease. To integrate exercise slowly but steadily, consider low-impact workouts into your routine. Yoga or Pilates can “get the body moving” with little strain on joints.
Invest in better skincare products!
When a person first starts smoking, the effects on the skin do not even enter the picture. But, after years of smoking, many people may need extra help rejuvenating their skin. A set routine focused on healing and moisturizing is vital to repairing the damage.
Natural products such as the Radiance serum from Caudelie may brighten and even the skin tone, while Estee Lauder’s Night Repair Eye Cream combats fine lines and crow’s feet. Exfoliating regularly also helps restore skin vibrancy by exposing a new epidermis layer.
Sydoni Skincare and Beauty Micro-Derm Cleanser is a two-in-one cleanser and exfoliator with Aluminum Oxide Crystals to smooth skin; Jojoba, Macadamia, and Sunflower oils to moisturize, and Vitamins A, C, and E to help protect cells from free radical damage, making this product ideal for mature skin. Products like these offer a helping hand in reversing the impacts of smoking on the skin.
So do yourself, your health, and your skin a favor. Stop smoking. It will benefit your body and appearance.