General

The Quit Smoking Timeline

Pretty much every reliable medical professional will tell you that quitting smoking is necessary to maintain good health. In the past, the opinions might have been mixed, but the science is clear. Smoking is bad for you. Quitting can be very difficult. That’s why an entire industry has arisen around helping people quit. Oftentimes, these programs are nothing more than pipe dreams. They are just flashy slogans and expensive products that don’t actually help. However, some of them are in fact the real deal and can help you break the damaging habit. But, when you’re in the midst of a cigarette and nicotine addiction, it may be difficult to see how or why you would ever quit. After all, you developed the addiction because you enjoyed cigarettes. When thinking about quitting smoking or trying to quit smoking, you should focus on the effects of quitting. You can see benefits in as little as twenty minutes.

Twenty Minutes

Nicotine increases the heart rate. Twenty minutes after you stop smoking, your heart rate will return to an almost normal level.

Two Hours

Two hours after you stop smoking, your heart rate and your blood pressure should be near normal levels. Also, circulation increases. This can sometimes be felt as warmth or tingling in the fingers and toes.

Two hours is also when nicotine withdrawal begins to set in. This often manifests itself as a craving for nicotine. You might feel anxious, tense, or frustrated. You might feel drowsy or alternately have trouble sleeping. After no longer having the appetite suppressing stimulant nicotine in your system, you might experience an increased appetite.

Twelve Hours

Carbon monoxide, a poisonous toxin that develops as a by-product of burning plant matter such as tobacco, builds up in your bloodstream when you smoke cigarettes. This carbon monoxide bonds to blood cells instead of oxygen, making it harder for your body to absorb oxygen.

Twelve hours after you quit smoking, your blood carbon monoxide levels should have returned to normal. This is very good because carbon monoxide can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Twenty Four Hours

Smokers have a seventy percent higher chance of a heart attack than non-smokers. However, this is quickly fixable. One full day, twenty four hours, after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop. Obviously, the risk does not drop all the way to that of a healthy non-smoker, but it does begin to improve.

Forty Eight Hours

Due to physical and chemical changes in the body, smoking cigarettes causes a loss of sensitivity in your senses of taste and smell. This can make food taste bland or even make it taste like cigarettes. This is also why you cannot smell the old cigarette smell that clings to everything. However, within forty eight hours, your sense of smell and taste begin to return to normal levels.

Seventy Two Hours

After three full days, the nicotine is completely processed and removed from your body. Congratulations, you’re now nicotine free. However, this means that the withdrawal effects will probably be the worst on this day. Some former smokers experience cramping, nausea, headaches, sleeplessness, irritability, anxiety, and increased appetite. These symptoms do subside though. Some former smokers resort to products such as Nucig to deal with the nicotine cravings.

Two to Three Weeks

Withdrawal symptoms usually fade out for most former smokers after about two weeks. That might seem like a long time to be so uncomfortable, but it’s really not that much.

Some point between two and three weeks, you will notice that you do not feel exhausted, sick, and out of breath when exercising or doing physical activity. This is because your circulation is improving now that you are no longer smoking. Also, your lung function is improving dramatically. This is usually the period of time in which your lungs start to feel clear and you have a much easier time taking deep, full breaths.

One Month

After one month, your lungs start to repair themselves. The little hairs inside your lungs, the cilia, are designed to filter the air that comes into your lungs. However, smoking has caused them to no longer function properly. After a month without smoking, they will begin to repair themselves so that they can filter your air and reduce your chances of getting infections.

Also, now that your lungs are functioning properly to expel mucus, you will probably find that you do not cough or hack nearly as much.

One Year

After one year without smoking, your risk of heart disease or attack will be fifty percent what it used to be. What this means, is that you have cut your risk of heart disease in half, and you are only thirty five percent more likely to have a heart attack than a healthy non- smoker. The longer you go without smoking, the lower this number will be.

Five Years

Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke causes the blood vessels to narrow. This narrowing increases your risk of having a stroke. Between five and fifteen years after quitting, depending on how much you used to smoke, your chances of a stroke have been reduced to a point as if you never smoked at all.

Ten Years

Smoking places the smoker at risk of a whole host of types of cancer. Ten years after you quit, your chances of lung cancer have been cut in half. Also, your risks for mouth, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, and throat cancer have all decreased significantly.

Fifteen Years

Fifteen years after you quit, your risk of heart disease has been reduced all the way to that of someone who has never smoked. That is to say, in terms of heart disease, you have completely negated the years you spent smoking.

Long Term

According to research, non-smokers live fourteen years longer than smokers. This includes former smokers who quit. They have better functioning pulmonary and cardiovascular systems that greatly improve quality of life. Quitting today can ensure that you live a happier and healthier life.

About the author

Jolie FULTON

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