Giving up smoking is hard. Not just from a chemical point of view, yes there are addictive additives found in cigarettes. But the psychological impact of giving up the addiction makes it even more difficult. There is little debate that smoking is bad for you but what happens when you give up? Let’s take a look.
Why give up?
Before we break down what happens to your body, let’s talk a little about why people should quit. Smoking is currently attributed to 6 million deaths per year. What’s more that number is on the increase. If current trends continue it is predicted that figure will rise to 8 million in the next ten years.
To give a balanced account we won’t just list the positive benefits, but also talk about the negatives to giving up smoking because it is hard. We get that.
20 minutes – yes it takes just twenty minutes for you to first feel some kind of change. 20 minutes without smoking and your blood pressure decreases and your temperature balances out making your hands and feet feel warmer.
12 hours – There are lots of nasty chemicals in cigarettes. Among them is Carbon Monoxide. This gas makes it harder for your lungs to take in oxygen. After just twelve hours the gas is out of your system making breathing just that little bit easier. Unfortunately, this is the point that cravings will start to kick in. Chewing gum and sipping water can help at this point.
24 hours – After a day without fags, your blood pressure returns to almost normal levels. Due to this, your risk of heart disease and blood clots that can lead to a stroke are already reduced. After just one day.
48 hours – things may have already started to get rough, after 48 hours it gets a lot worse. It is around now you start to detox. You will cough a lot as your lungs attempt to eject mucus. You may feel dizzy, tired and irritable at this stage. It isn’t all bad though. Smoking causes nerve damage and after a couple of days, this will start to reverse itself. Meaning the nerve cells in your mouth and nose will be healing and food will start to taste better.
3 days – At this point the Nicotine is out of your system. It is around this time that you get withdrawal and this can be a nightmare. Headaches, mood swings, tiredness and dizziness. You may even feel sick and the chances are you are still coughing up mucus. It is around this time most people will give up on quitting. However, your energy levels should be higher and breathing should be easier.
2 weeks – cravings should have subsided now. The chances of a relapse now are far less likely.
3 months – After three months the risks of heart disease are reduced dramatically and you should have more energy and struggle for breath less. Those nasty side effects should be long gone too.
9 months – At this point, the Cilia in your lungs should have healed. People should see an improvement in any conditions related to their lungs.
A year – The risk of you getting heart disease is halved
After a year
5 years – Your arteries will be far wider reducing the risks of strokes to the same as a non-smoker. The risk of getting cancer of the throat, mouth and bladder are halved!
10 years – You are now half as likely to get lung cancer as a smoker.
15 years – the risk of heart disease is now exactly the same as a non-smoker.
So there you have it. In addition to this, there are also improvements to your hair and skin that are associated with not smoking. If that hasn’t inspired you to kick the habit I don’t know what will!