The Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
There is a common misconception that after you quit smoking, you will have cravings and urges to smoke forever. In actuality, if you go Cold Turkey, nicotine will be out of your system within 72 hours. That’s only 3 days! Most nicotine cravings last 3 t0 5 minutes, but remember, as time passes the urges to smoke will become weaker and farther apart. It took a long time to become a smoker, so it will take some time to break free from the habit.
The next time you feel the urge, try these short-term strategies. They’re called The Four D’s:
- Delay. Just wait it out.
- Distract yourself. Do something else when you feel the urge.
- Deep breathe. Let that tension go.
- Drink water. Satisfy the craving with this healthy change.
Here’s what happens to your body when you quit smoking:
Within 20 minutes:
- Blood pressure drops to normal.
- Pulse slows downs to normal.
- Temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
- Cardiovascular damage begins to subside.
Within 8 hours:
- Carbon monoxide level in blood decreases.
- Oxygen level in blood increases to normal.
Within 24 hours:
- Chance of heart attack decreases.
Within 48 hours:
- Damaged nerve endings start to re-grow.
- Senses of smell and taste begin to improve.
Within 72 hours:
- Nicotine is all out of the body.
- Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier.
After 2 weeks to 3 months:
- Blood circulation improves throughout the body.
- Exercise becomes easier.
- Lung function increases by 30%.
After 1 to 9 months:
- Coughing, shortness of breath, and sinus congestion all decrease.
- Cilia re-grow in lungs-increasing the lungs’ ability to clean themselves and reduce frequency of infections.
- Your body’s overall energy level increases.
After 1 year:
- Risk of heart disease is reduced by half.
After 5 years:
- Risk of stroke decreases to the level of non-smokers.
Afte 10 years:
- Risk of lung cancer is reduced by half.
- Precancerous cells in the body are replaced by health cells.
- Incidences of other cancers (mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas) all decrease.
After 15 years:
- Overall risk of death nearly returns to the level of someone who never smoked.
- Risks of heart disease and lung cancer return to levels of a non-smoker.