Letters: Aging And How You Quit Smoking

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Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to the show to weigh in on improving mental health as we age. They also told their stories about what worked, and what didn't, when they tried to quit smoking for good.


It's Tuesday, and time to read from your emails and Web comments.

Our conversation with Dr. Marc Agronin about aging brought this email from Richard Olive in San Rafael, California. He wrote: Aging is a chapter in life, the last page of which is death. Aging and death provides opportunities for intense compassion and love. After months on his deathbed, my father felt very badly about his daily care needs being met by his wife. Told of his feelings after he died, my stepmother said she would've done it for another 25 years.

Daniel McGrath in Jacksonville, Florida, works with seniors and shared this experience: Time and again, we've seen people reluctant or hesitant to leave their homes and move in with us. Within days, our new residents are talking to other seniors, dining with their peers, and really enjoying the opportunity to have socialization. I wish more people would realize the importance of seniors having full social lives.

We asked you to tell us what worked when you decided to quit smoking, following the announcement that President Barack Obama stopped smoking a year ago. Lee Bonnefields(ph) sent this email about how he gave up the habit five minutes at a time: When I decided to quit, I postponed lighting up for five minutes. After a week, I knew I could wait five minutes every time. And then, I waited 10 minutes between the urge and satisfying it. When I got comfortable with that, I waited 15 minutes. By the time I was waiting an hour to light up, I was smoking less. I may have kept making small steps until I was waiting four hours. But by then, I just didn't feel the urge so much and quit completely.

But Shane in Boulder, Colorado, wrote: Your show is making me want a cigarette for the first time in months. We're sorry, Shane, and hope you were able to resist that urge.

Send us your comments, questions or corrections via email. Our address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from, and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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