What Happens When You Quit Smoking
It’s never too late to quit smoking. You will see health benefits when you quit, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. Some positive effects are almost immediate, like all the money you’ll save, while others may take longer. Stick with it! You’ll feel so much better, and your family will enjoy the new you. Here are some of the amazing effects on your body after you stop smoking according to the CDC:
- 20 Minutes After Quitting: Your heart rate drops back to normal levels. Within 2 hours, your heart rate and blood pressure will be almost back to normal levels. Smoking causes the heart to work harder to get oxygen to your body because your blood takes in carbon monoxide from the cigarette. As your circulation begins to improve, you’ll notice that your hands and feet will feel warmer, too.
- 12 Hours After Quitting: Your blood oxygen levels return to almost normal levels. Carbon monoxide from the cigarette binds to red blood cells, which takes the place of oxygen in the blood. A high level of carbon monoxide is hazardous to the body. As your body expels the carbon monoxide, oxygen replaces it on the red blood cells. Your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to get oxygen to all of the parts of your body anymore.
o The risk of heart attack is 70% higher for smokers than non-smokers. After quitting for 24 hours, you’ve already reduced this rate.
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting: As your risk of heart attack continues to drop, you will also notice a greater lung capacity. Your body is on the road to recovery. Your lungs are clearing out mucus and debris from the cigarettes, leaving you with more room to take in better air.
o After 9 months, you’ll notice that you are better able to fight off illnesses and have greater stamina for exercise.
- 1 Year After Quitting: Your risk for heart disease is half that of a smoker. The longer you stay cigarette-free, the less risk you are for heart disease in the future.
- 5 Years After Quitting: Heart disease isn’t the only health factor that’s improved—your risk for stroke is down to that of a non-smoker’s.
- 10 Years After Quitting: Your cancer risk is dramatically reduced. The chance of having lung cancer is half that of a smoker’s, and other cancers like mouth, throat, bladder, and kidney are all decreased.
- 15 Years After Quitting: Your coronary heart disease risk is back to that of a non-smoker.
The most difficult things to overcome are the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Have a support system in place for when these hit. You’ll feel the most intense symptoms around day 3 after quitting. Have some OTC pain meds for the headaches and keep yourself busy with activities so you aren’t bored and tempted to reach for a cigarette. The good news is that once you make it through a week, you’re over the worst of it. Stay strong in your decision and keep the health benefits at the forefront of your mind. Enjoy spending more time with friends and family for years and years to come.
If you would like more information, read more at the CDC, or call 1(800) QUIT-NOW for support to quit today.