Though smoking rates in Australia are seeing a decline, there are still too many older adults partaking in the habit. For those trying to live healthily whilst ageing in place, this is a problem.

According to research collected by Tobacco in Australia, around 19 per cent of all daily smokers in our country are over the age of 60. This is an important figure, because although Australians (of all ages) are smoking less and less, seniors are at a much higher risk of health problems from the habit.

Senior health affected by smoking

Unfortunately, not so long ago smoking was a regular and widely accepted habit, leading to a high population of addicted people throughout the 20th century, particular men. In fact, a survey performed by Victoria's Center for Behavioural Research in Cancer (CBRC), suggests that upwards of 45 per cent of males aged between 40 and 59 smoked during the 1980s.

Due to this, there are a lot of seniors at risk of health problems associated with the habit because of their past addiction, or the fact that they are still continuing these old ways. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine confirms this, stating that elderly people are "disproportionately" likely to suffer smoking consequences due to the longevity of their habit. 

Smoking is the cause of approximately 80 per cent and 90 per cent of all lung cancer deaths in women and men respectively, according to the American Lung Association.

It is also the cause of 90 per cent of all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, and can cause coronary heart disease, infections in the lower respiratory system and strokes. Each of these three problems are leading causes of death for people over the age of 50.

What should you do?

If you would like to continue your retirement by living an active, healthy lifestyle, you need to act immediately.

Quitting is the number one way to prevent health problems associated with smoking, and it has never been easier to do so. There are a wide variety of stop smoking tools available for use, each offering different methods to suit different people.

For example, a nicotine patch such as those by the brand Habitrol, can be easily applied and are effective. However, you can also purchase chewing gum, lozenges, mouth sprays and electronic cigarettes, depending on what you find easiest.

If you're worried about your health, make sure to talk to your doctor to see if they can offer any more specific help for your individual needs.

Smoking at an older age: What you should know