Vaping is proving to be a useful smoking cessation tool in the senior community
As vaping grows as a smoking cessation tool, older smokers have been turning to it as well to help end their addictions. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a study that that reveals the majority of smokers looking to quit are using vaping and e-cigarettes as part of their cessation tools. Vaping, at this point, is actually a more popular cessation tool than patches, gums, or prescription drugs. Many smokers who have used vaping as a cessation tool use word of mouth to spread the news about how well e-cigarettes worked for them. These stories are even starting to be backed by scientific research. In fact, a study out of the University of Louisville indicates that vaping could be responsible for helping countless smokers quit. With all that vaping has been shown to do, it’s no wonder that it’s being utilized by smokers of all ages finally kick the habit.
The Older Crowd
Despite decades of warnings and doctors advising her to stop, Jeannie Cox smoked the majority of her life. The retired secretary visited with her daughter in Alaska, and it was there she tried vaping. At the time she had no intention to quit smoking for good, but according to Ms. Cox, she hasn’t lit a cigarette since. It’s been five years, and Ms. Cox says that, with her reliable vaping rig at hand, she has never felt the need to smoke. She says he never expected quitting to be so simple.
Stories like this are popping up all over the country as seniors are beginning to understand and see the effectiveness of vaping. Statistically, there have been fewer smokers over the age of 65. Unfortunately, the main cause behind that statistic is the premature death of many chronic smokers before the age of 65. The smokers who do hang on past 65 tend to be severe cases, many of them resigned to being lifelong smokers. Yet now that scientific research is showing the harm reduction value of vaping and e-cigarettes, more doctors are recommending it for their older smoking patients.
The CDC and FDA may be delaying taking a hard stance on the safety of vaping, but many independent doctors are stepping up to help their patients. Dr. Steven Schroeder works as the director of the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California at San Francisco. He is just one of many doctors across the country who feel that, because most of the harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke are not present in vapor, vaporizers are an excellent harm reduction tool.
A clinical psychologist at NYU, Dr. David Abrams, studies smoking and nicotine addictions. He feels that vaping, especially for older smokers, offers a safer alternative.” Any smoker, especially an older smoker, who isn’t thinking about switching (to e-cigarettes) is doing himself a major disservice..If you could get nicotine in a safer form, like an F.D.A.-approved medication, even for the rest of your life, you’d be in far better shape.”
Not all transitions are as easy as Ms. Cox’s. Initially, Ms. Cox thought “I’m not quitting smoking, I’m just trying this newfangled thing. Three days later, I realized I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in three days. I thought, ‘This is working out kind of nice. Quitting is not supposed to be this easy.’” And she’s right; it’s not that easy. According to Dr. King at the CDC it takes an average of 15 attempts for most people to successfully quit smoking. Yet this growing population in the 65+ demographic is proving that perhaps they aren’t unwilling to switch, they just don’t know about the benefits or the tools accessible to them. To this point, the vaping industry has done little to no advertising or education to attract older users.
Senior smokers are at a much higher risk of contracting harmful diseases from smoking, and it’s because of this Dr. Schroeder believes advertising should be more focused on the elderly. Quitting smoking will not only extend the lives of those successful, but also limit many of the diseases found in the population. Dr. Schroeder even points to the fact that non-smokers respond better to major procedures, which seniors are much more likely to require.
Smoking is a health concern that affects people of all ages, but it primarily affects those 65 and older. They are at a much higher risk for suffering from the harmful effects of smoking. It is essential that these older adults be educated on the positives that vaping and e-cigarettes offer.
Scientific research has proven the benefits. Vaping is 95% safer than smoking combustible cigarettes. It is also more successful than other cessation methods like patches or prescriptions. Some studies suggest the psychological cues, or the habits associated with smoking, like putting your hand to your face or exhaling a cloud, reinforce the switch making it easier to find success. Ultimately everyone agrees that smoking is extremely harmful. Older smokers suffer from that strongly, and if vaping community can reach out and support them, then so much good can be done. Ms. Cox and others like her prove it is never too late to quit and that age should not be viewed as a barrier for these tools to be utilized.
Have any of the elderly people in your life used vaping to quit smoking? Do you believe in the age-gap being a problem for them? How do you think we could make vaping an easier transition for seniors? Let us know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to check back here or join our Facebook and Twitter communities for more news and articles.