Quitting Smoking – It’s Never Too Late!

If you are struggling with quitting smoking, do not give up, and do not be discouraged. Whether you are a smoker or non-smoker, whether you have tried to quit or not, it is no secret that quitting smoking is incredibly difficult due to the physical and psychological dependences. However, millions of people have accomplished this feat, and success is certainly possible if you are a smoker desiring to quit. By focusing on the physical benefits of kicking this habit, you are more likely to realize that the short- and long-term benefits far outweigh the temporary fleeting pleasures a cigarette produces. It is unbelievable (yet true!) how much healthier your body will become upon smoking cessation. As WhyQuit.com says, “Your body’s ability to mend is beauty to behold!”1

Some smokers are discouraged, believing that smoking has already caused too much damage to their bodies. No matter how long you’ve been smoking, you will ALWAYS benefit by quitting. The human body is amazingly resilient. According to About.com, “Within the first 20 minutes of quitting, the healing process begins.”2 In just a third of an hour, you are already on your way to complete health restoration. One smoker of 25 years described an extensive list of the many benefits that they have enjoyed after having quit only six months before.

A group of recent successful quitters were surveyed about the benefits enjoyed since quitting. Among the responses were not being tired during the day and sleeping soundly at night, being able to smell again, having a clearer complexion, improved resistance to allergies and asthma, sharper thinking, whiter teeth, and simply having the ability to breathe better.

No Smoking Sign s

Cardiovascular Benefits

Within only twenty minutes of your last cigarette, you will obtain normal blood pressure and pulse rates. As early as three weeks after quitting, your circulation has improved. Between two weeks and three months of smoking cessation, your risk of experiencing a heart attack has begun to drop, and within a year, your risk of developing coronary heart disease is reduced to less than half that of a smoker. Five to fifteen years later, your stroke risk has dropped to that of a non-smoker. Additionally, after fifteen years (be patient!), your risk of coronary heart disease is now reduced to that of a person who has never smoked.

Respiratory Benefits

Within a mere twelve hours of quitting smoking, your blood oxygen level has increased to normal and the level of carbon monoxide is reduced to normal. After three days, your bronchial tubes have begun relaxing, allowing easier breathing, and your lung capacity is growing. Between one and nine months, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath have decreased. At this point, the cilia lining the lungs have re-grown, allowing the body to filter the air it breathes. This keeps the system purer and reduces the risk of infection. After ten years, your risk of developing lung cancer is reduced to half if you had been an average smoker of one pack per day.

Throughout the Body

After only two days of quitting, harmed nerve ending begin to re-grow, and your senses of taste and smell are returning to normal. Only three days are required for your body to be able to test 100% nicotine free. Additionally, 90% of nicotine metabolites have passed from the body through the urinary system. At this point, your body is most likely experiencing the greatest withdrawal (hang on – the worst is almost over!) Within a week and a half to two weeks, your body has adjusted to functioning without the 3,500 chemicals and 500 gases in each puff of smoke. Between three weeks and three months, walking has become easier, and any nagging cough will have disappeared. At the six-month mark, headaches, yellow teeth, bloodshot eyes, yellow skin, gravel voice, and constant stuffy nose have all disappeared. In less than nine months, as a result of the many benefits that the body has already experienced, your overall energy has increased. After ten years, your risk of developing cancers in the mouth, esophagus, and throat have decreased.

Fifteen years after quitting, it is almost as if you had never smoked for many regions of the body. That means a 40 year-old who quits smoking is more likely to be able to enjoy spending time with the grandchildren, travel freely with a spouse, or engage in sports or other activities well after retirement.

Clearly there are immediate and delayed benefits of quitting smoking. While some require much more patience in obtaining the benefits, all the effects of quitting smoking, though not necessarily immediately beneficial, are completely positive. Your body will thank you and reward you with better health and quality of life.

Paul Galla, President

1 http://whyquit.com/whyquit/A_Benefits_Time_Table.html

2 http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/afterquitting/a/after_quitting.htm

3 http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/shouldiquit/a/benefits.htm

4 http://quitsmoking.about.com/cs/sixmomilestones/a/eb6months.htm