This is What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking. (It’s Never Too Late To Stop!)
Do you want to quit smoking?
If your answer is “yes”, you have improved health to look forward to.
That’s because no matter how long you’ve been a smoker – whether 30 days or 30 years – your body CAN recover from the toxic chemicals you’ve inhaled.
You see, smoking cigarettes is one of the unhealthiest things you can do to your body. Cigarettes have been linked to lung, throat, and mouth cancer and have been proven to increase a person’s risk for heart troubles and respiratory difficulties.
And because of the addictive qualities of nicotine, stopping the habit of smoking cigarettes can be especially hard for some people.
Some lack the motivation, others easily relapse thanks to stress or other factors and then have to restart the whole quitting process again. But for the most part many probably do not understand just how much healthier their lives would be if they learned how to stop smoking, for good.
Unfortunately, you should note that there are some setbacks that may occur when quitting, most notably these 4 effects of withdrawal.
4 Effects of Withdrawal
1. Digestive: You may experience heartburn, indigestion, nausea, and diarrhea. Symptoms usually get worse before they begin to improve.
2. Respiratory: Sinus congestion, coughing, phlegm and a slight hoarseness can occur.
3. Circulatory: You may feel dizzy, stiff, or even tingling in your toes and fingers.
4. Sleep: You may experience insomnia as well.
These effects are a direct result of your body repairing the damage that smoking has caused, and starting to smoke again will only set back your plans of a healthy lifestyle. If you fight through your withdrawal stage (which should only last 3-4 weeks) you will see immediate and long-lasting health improvements.
To give you an idea of the benefits that you will experience once you quit smoking, the American Cancer Society has created a timeline that describes what you can look forward to in your new, smoke-free life.
20 minutes after quitting
Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
(Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension.2003:41:183)
12 hours after quitting
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
1 to 9 months after quitting
Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
1 year after quitting
The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
5 years after quitting
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking.IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)
10 years after quitting
The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
15 years after quitting
The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
(Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)
Breaking any habit can be difficult. If you want to quit smoking you’ll have to be completely resolute in your new routine, and need to be strong when it matters most – especially when you experience strong cravings, or even if you happen to relapse. Long-time smokers will battle a stronger addiction than others, but the immediate and long term benefits are more than worth the trouble.