What Happens When You Quit Smoking

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See What Happens When You Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things a person can do to their body. The nicotine contained in cigarettes stimulates pleasure centers in the brain causing biological changes. This is what makes smoking highly addictive. While quitting this nasty habit can be difficult and will definitely cause physical and mental symptoms, the immediate and long-term benefits will improve not only the quality, but also the quantity of one’s life. Knowing what to expect and the time-frame of the benefits received can help keep one mentally focused on accomplishing their goal.  Lets take a close look at what happens when you quit smoking.

what happens when you quit

Your health improves immediately upon quitting. Image: Can Stock Photo.

Twenty Minutes After the Last Cigarette

The physical benefits of abstaining from smoking start in as little as twenty minutes. The body begins to recover from the nicotine spike and is able to bring the heart rate back down to a normal level.

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Two Hours After Quitting

In just a few hours, blood pressure also returns to normal levels. Peripheral circulation begins to improve warming the fingertips and the toes. Early withdrawal symptoms may begin to show in the forms of intense cravings, frustration and anxiety. From this point on, commitment is key to success.

Twelve Hours In

Carbon monoxide, which builds in the body from smoking, decreases to near-normal levels. This allows blood oxygen levels to increase.

One Day of Abstinence

Within 24 hours of quitting, the risk of heart attack already begins to decrease.

Two Days Later

Nerve endings are able to begin to regrow. This process enhances both smell and taste senses.

Three Days Later

The body is now completely free of nicotine. This is the time when withdrawal symptoms tend to peak. In addition to emotional symptoms, the quitter can expect some physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea and cramps. It is especially important during this time for the now non-smoker to be kind to themselves. Care and positive reinforcement are necessary to get through this phase. Meditation and exercise can help get throw this period.

Two Week Benefits

About two weeks later, positive benefits really start to show. Many regenerative processes are occurring. Improvements in lung function and circulation make physical activities easier to perform without feeling winded. Lungs start to clear making breathing easier. Withdrawal symptoms begin to ease.

Between One and Nine Months After the Last Cigarette

The body is really able to begin repairing itself after a month. Cilia in the lungs which are responsible for pushing out mucus become damaged with repeated inhalation of the toxins in cigarettes. Now they are able to repair themselves and start to work properly again. This process not only helps to lower the risk of lung infections, it also helps to decrease coughing and shortness of breath. By this time the withdrawal symptoms are completely gone.

One Year Since Quitting

After a year of not smoking, the risk of heart disease lowers by 50%.

Five Year Cigarette Free

After five years, the risk of having a stroke lowers to that of a non-smoker.

Ten Years Later

By ten years of quitting, the risk of dying from lung cancer drops to half of someone who smokes. The risk of other types of cancer occurring also decreases.

Fifteen Years After Meeting the Goal

Within fifteen years, the risk of heart disease returns to the same level as a non-smoker.

Now that you have seen what happens when you quit smoking, what are you waiting for?

References:
Quit Smoking Timeline
Stop Smoking Recovery Table
Smoke-free Living: Benefits & Milestones

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Jim H

I started vaping in January 2011 and haven't had the desire to smoke a traditional cigarette since. It inspired me so much that I created this website to help others like me who want to quit smoking. I hope you enjoy the site and please leave a comment.

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