As of today, smoking has been one of the most common ways to get a long range of diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes, blood pressure, chronic bronchitis, etc.
It releases harmful chemicals into your body, damaging not only your lungs but also your heart and other vital organs.
If you’re someone who has been smoking for a while, you might question if quitting is even worth it. Many fear it would take a long time to see positive changes in them. Hence they tend to lose motivation. There are literally enormous benefits of quitting smoking.
As a matter of fact, the human body has a fascinating ability to heal itself, and it’s much quicker than you think. So, anyone can reverse the effects and experience benefits from the first hour you stop smoking to the years after you quit.
Facts on quitting smoking:
1) Quitting essentially means breaking the addiction cycle and changing the brain’s patterns to stop dependency.
2) To be on this successful journey, you need to figure out a plan for things that you can do to replace your cravings.
3) You will start experiencing health benefits in less than one hour after your last cigarette.
What Happens When You Quit Smoking?
After 20 minutes
Your body starts to show signs of positive effects in less than 20 mins since you smoked your last cigarette. Blood pressure and pulse begin to drop back to normal levels.
Also, the circulation of fibers in the bronchial tubes starts to improve, which is beneficial for the lungs to help reduce the risk of infection.
After 8-12 hours
Within these hours, carbon monoxide levels return to normal, increasing the oxygen levels. Carbon monoxide is a chemical gas present in cigarette smoke. It is harmful in high doses, preventing oxygen from entering your lungs and blood.
So after your last cigarette, the body cleanses itself and gets rid of excess carbon monoxide.
24 hours/1 day
Within 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack decreases. Smoking increases the chances of developing coronary heart disease and blood clots.
In as little as 1 day without smoking, blood pressure begins to drop, increasing the person’s oxygen levels that help to keep the heart healthy.
48 hours/2 days after your last cigarette
By this point, the nerve endings are to heal that was previously damaged. When this happens, your sense of smell and taste is greatly enhanced. Enjoy this by having something tasty as a treat for yourself.
Your body will be busy doing a lot of cleaning up, and you wouldn’t have any more nicotine in your body. But this can also be the time when your withdrawal symptoms get tough.
You might feel anxious, dizzy, or tired. However, stick to your plan and do something fun that replaces your cravings.
After 3 days
The bronchial tubes inside the lungs open up more, making air change between carbon dioxide and oxygen efficiently. You will find yourself breathing much easier than before.
Also, your lung capacity eventually increases and keeps getting better.
After 1 week
This time is significant for the success rate in terms of quitting smoking. People who make it one week without tobacco are 10 times more likely to quit successfully in the long-term process.
After 2 weeks to 3 months
Within 1 month, you experience many changes. The best one is the overall energy you feel in your body and mind.
You can create a lot of opportunities during this time. Your lungs become significantly stronger, you can do more physically, and your blood flow would have greatly improved.
Cravings might still persist depending on the person’s addiction. If you stick to your plan and find new ways to overcome it, it can be handled very well.
After 3-9 months
You will notice that you can take deeper and clearer breaths. Cilia, hair-like structures inside the lungs, would recover remarkably from the damage that they took from cigarette smoke.
That being mentioned, you will be coughing up much less mucus and phlegm compared to 1-2 months of your quitting.
After 1 year
It’s a breakthrough, YAY! You have decreased your heart or coronary disease by half from what it was a year ago, and you experience dramatic health benefits in terms of lungs, energy, stamina, mental health, and a lot more.
In addition, you have saved yourself a lot of money. As you know, smoking cigarettes is pretty expensive.
After 5 years
Cigarettes cause arteries and blood vessels to narrow, and this might increase the risk of developing blood clots.
5 years of not smoking helps the body to heal itself for the arteries and blood vessels to widen up again. Moreover, the risk of stroke would continue to reduce as the body heals over time.
After 10 years
After a decade, your chances of developing and dying because of lung cancer are now half compared to someone who still smokes. Your body starts replacing your precancerous cells with healthy cells.
Also, the risk of other smoking-related diseases, such as mouth, pancreas, kidneys, and esophagus cancer, reduces significantly.
After 15 years
15 years indeed is long, but also a life-changing period. Your heart attack and pancreatic cancer risk would have been reduced to the same level as an average (non-smoker) person. 15 years of no smoking is a major milestone you can go through for your overall well-being.
Smoking is a harmful and addictive habit that leads to many health complications, and, sometimes, death. But at the same time, the body is our natural healer regarding non-smoking. It starts to regain all the vital aspects to make it as fresh as a non-smoker.
Never underestimate the power that nature has given you. If you learn to control your mind and body, giving up any addiction is effortless.
Since there are so many health improvements in quitting smoking, it is time to wake up and take the necessary steps.