Everyone is aware of tobacco’s harmful effects and how it contributes to deadly conditions like heart disease and various types of cancer. But nicotine is a hell of a drug, and that’s why most people keep smoking even though they know perfectly well they shouldn’t.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to quit. It doesn’t matter if you have been a smoker for two, ten, or twenty-five years. You are always on time to break this habit and enjoy the positive effects of quitting smoking. After all, the human body has an incredible healing ability.
To give you the push you need to throw your packet of cigarettes in the trash bin once and for all, we’re going to share in this article what happens when you quit smoking.
Quit Smoking Timeline:
This timeline is a summarized way to present the benefits of quitting smoking as the time since your last cigarette progresses. Besides being very informative, it also gives extra motivation to those who want to quit smoking by showing short and medium-term effects. So, let’s imagine you’ve been a smoker for twenty-five years, and you just decided to smoke your last cigarette ever. Here’s what happens:
1. After half an hour
It doesn’t take much time to start seeing the first positive signs. After 30 minutes, your body is already recovering: the blood pressure and heart rate drop back to normal levels, and circulation improves – so you might notice the extremities of your body (hands and feet) get slightly warmer.
2. After 8 hours
Eight hours is enough for your body to get rid of more than half the amount of both nicotine and carbon monoxide present in the blood, which means that your oxygen levels are getting back to normal. If you’ve been a regular smoker for many years, this is when you start feeling an enormous urge to light a cigarette. Stay strong; your body is just beginning the healing process!
3. After 24 hours
Your organism is almost nicotine free! But that’s not all: your heart is already receiving all the oxygen it needs, and your veins and arteries are in much better shape – so your risk of heart attack is significantly lower.
4. After 48 hours
By this time, your taste and smell had recovered a large part of their abilities that had been numbed by tobacco smoke. Go to your favorite restaurant to eat your favorite dish – it will taste better than ever. You deserve it!
5. After 1 week
This is a very important milestone and one of the most difficult to reach. Statistically speaking, if you can go a week without smoking, you are ten times more likely to quit this habit forever. You probably already noticed that breathing is now a lot easier, right? That’s because your bronchial tubes and lungs have increased their capacity.
6. After 1 month
Thanks to the improvement in circulation and oxygenation, you can now do some light exercises (such as walking) without getting out of breath. Not only have your lung function increased by as much as 30%, but the fibers that help keep these organs healthy by removing excess mucus and protecting against bacterial infections are also growing back.
7. After 9 months
Now you have much more energy throughout the day, and your lungs are now in even better shape. Some people might experience increase coughing, but that’s just a part of the healing process occurring in your respiratory tract, so don’t worry about it. After all this time without smoking, women have improved their fertility and reduced the risk of having a premature baby.
8. After 1 year
The risk of developing coronary heart disease is now cut in half! Your lungs are still improving at a tremendous rate, so you are definitely on the right track! On the other hand, many ex-smokers put on some weight during this process, and it starts to be noticeable by the 1-year mark. That’s why you need to worry about your diet and workout routine.
9. After 5 years
First of all, congratulations. This is a huge achievement. Your heart is now healthier than ever, and you have the same risk of having a heart attack as someone who has never smoked. The risk of death from lung cancer has also dropped by half.
10. After 10+ years
After ten years, you’re already in a condition similar to what you would have been if you’d never smoked. But it takes nearly 20 years for your organism to recover from all the damage tobacco has done. Only then the risk of death from smoking-related health conditions drops back to normal levels (as if you’d never smoked in your life). At this point, we hope you are already inspired to quit smoking. If that is the case, here are some valuable tips on how to quit smoking.
Tips to quit smoking: Everyone knows that this process can be complicated and cause withdrawal effects that disturb the routine and mood of the former smoker. Sometimes personal motivation and willpower are not enough. That’s why doctors and experts have been developing products and strategies that can counter the urge to smoke and the effects of the absence of nicotine causes in the organism. If you want to quit smoking, talk to your doctor, and ask him for help. That’s the most important tip of all.
But there are others:
- List all the reasons why you are doing it;
- Build a short to medium-term plan;
- Take advantage of nicotine replacement therapy (with the help of a doctor or pharmacist);
- Avoid common triggers like alcohol or being around people who are smoking (and identify your specific triggers);
- Use a quit smoking app to track your progress and find extra motivation;
- Ask your family and friends for support;
- Avoid stress;
- Exercise and eat a healthy diet;