There’s no doubt about it — quitting cigarette smoking, especially if you have been a long-time addict, is incredibly challenging! However, the vast benefits of quitting far outweigh the drawbacks once you get past the most difficult of cravings. If you’re looking to stop the habit, you’ll be pleased to hear that the body shows improvement in health sooner than we think.
Read on to see our timeline of the body’s reaction to quitting smoking. Let it motivate you to push further and further!
Short Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- An hour: In as little as 20 minutes after putting out your last cigarette, your heart rate begins to drop towards a normal level.
- 12 hours: The body’s carbon monoxide levels return to normal, which in turn increases its oxygen levels.
- 1 day: A full day after quitting smoking sees the beginning of a decrease in blood pressure and risk of a heart attack. Because oxygen levels are a little higher, it’ll already be easier to do physical activity in order to further promote heart health!
- 2 days: You may notice a heightened sense of taste and smell after just two days, since the nerves responsible for these functions will have begun healing.
- 3 days: The three-day mark is when nicotine levels are drastically depleted. This is of course a good thing in the long run, but it’s important to note withdrawal will cause irritability, headaches and cravings at this point!
- 1 month: Less coughing and shortness of breath becomes apparent in as little as one month of breaking the smoking habit.
Long Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- 3 months: All of the aforementioned functions continue to improve for several months
- 9 months: At this point, the lungs will have significantly improved in form and function.
- 1 year: The risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half!
- 5 years: The arteries and blood vessels throughout the body, which are narrowed as a result of cigarette toxins, will have widened enough to drastically lower the risk of clotting thus strokes. This risk continues to drop year after year.
- 10 years: A person’s likelihood to develop lung cancer is cut in half. Other cancers tied to cigarette use – like mouth, throat, and pancreatic cancer – will have significantly reduced as well.
- 15 years: At the fifteen year mark, the chance of developing coronary heart disease and pancreatic cancer is shown to be the same as a non-smoker’s.
- 20 years: Twenty years marks when the risk of death from smoking-related causes is equivalent to somebody who has never smoked.
The average pack of cigarettes is on average six dollars and fifty cents. This means:
“A pack a day smokers”: Six dollars and fifty cents per day will average out to around forty five dollars a week. That over the span of a month will be around $195, multiply to over a year and you are spending two thousand three hundred and forty dollars. Imagine what you could do with an extra two thousand dollars in your pocket?
Even when you cut down on smoking, let’s say to half a pack a day; that’s still well over a thousand dollars a year spent on something that isn’t very good for you.
So the real question is; what would you do with that extra money?
A huge part of smoking is the mental aspect, this is for both people who do smoke and people that are trying to quit. Smoking becomes a part of your routine. Many people will say that they are only “social smokers” which is often how smoking habits start. A social smoker is someone who will only smoke around other people. For instance they might go out for a cigarette with coworkers at lunch, or they may only smoke when drinking. The issue is when the habit increases.
But let’s focus on an every day smoker. Smoking can help mentally for many reasons. People might go out for a cigarette to get a five minute break from the office, or when they are stressed people use cigarettes to focus on something when they feel distracted. A great way to help combat the feeling to smoke when you are stressed or need a break is to count your breath instead. Count your breath and think about how your breathing is. When you are trying to quit, take a step outside as though you were going to have a cigarette and then think about how easily your breath comes. Focus on deep breathing and gradually you will see how much better your lungs are getting!
Quitting Smoking Tracker Apps
There are a number of resources available to help you quit smoking and track your progress. Healthline has a great list of best Quit Smoking mobile apps out there! It’s definitely hard to quit a smoking habit, but it is possible! Surround yourself with positivity and read articles on the benefits of quitting smoking. Jot down the most important things to do, and repeat those things to yourself when all you want is a cigarette.
Let’s recap and see what steps can help you quit smoking:
- Read the benefits of quitting smoking
- Start deep breathing exercises
- Download apps that can help you stay away from smoking
- Take a walk when you feel like smoking
- Count your breath and concentrate on the exercise
- Interact with non-smokers
- Focus on the positive outcomes of quitting smoking
Do you have any ideas that you’d like to share? Leave a comment and we will include the suggestions in our next blog!