Though it’s universally acknowledged that smoking brings about no health benefits, comparatively few realise just how harmful tobacco can be. Likewise, few smokers truly understand just how advantageous quitting smoking can be, in terms of both immediate and long-term health benefits.
Smoking is the biggest cause of death and illness in the UK – more than 120,000 people die each year from diseases caused by smoking. Which is made all the more tragic by the fact that every single one of these deaths is 100% preventable.
Generally speaking, simply telling or trying to force smokers to quit against their will turns out to be counterproductive. Instead, it can be more effective to highlight both the dangers of continued smoking and the benefits that can be enjoyed upon quitting for life.
So to take a step away from the usual approach, what follows is a brief overview of 10 things that happen to the human body when tobacco is removed from the equation:
- Early improvement
Just 20 minutes after smoking a cigarette, blood pressure and pulse rates return back to their normal levels.
- Restored oxygen balance
8 hours later, oxygen levels in the blood return to a state of balance, while harmful levels of carbon monoxide are neutralised.
- Heart attack risk reduced
Incredibly, it takes only 24 hours after your final cigarette to benefit from a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack. This is a benefit that continues indefinitely.
- Sensors begin to strengthen
Two days after quitting smoking, the individual’s senses of smell and taste begin to strengthen and return to their former levels of sensitivity.
- Improved circulation
Within the initial weeks of quitting smoking up to around three months, notable improvements in blood circulation make everyday activities and exercise significantly easier.
Between the period of 2 weeks and 3 months, the blood circulation is improved, and walking becomes easier. Moreover, the function of the lungs is increased up to 30 percent.
- Easier breathing
During the same period as mentioned above, lung function can increase by up to 30%. Over the following 3 to 6 months, various health complaints such as sinus congestion, coughs and breathing difficulties can also be reduced.
- Improved Heart Health
Heart health continues to improve significantly during the first year after quitting smoking – reducing the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 50%, compared to smokers.
- Reduced risk of cancer
Five years after quitting smoking, the respective individual’s likelihood of developing a wide variety of cancers is reduced by as much as 50%. Smokers are twice as likely to develop lung cancer as those who quit smoking.
- Lung repair and regeneration
Incredibly, a decade after quitting smoking permanently, the former smoker’s likelihood of developing lung cancer returns to approximately the same as that of a life-long non-smoker. In addition, the risk of developing further cancer types is once again reduced significantly.
- Heart health
Last but not least, 15 years after quitting smoking the respective individual will return to the same heart disease risk-level as an individual who has never smoked tobacco during their lifetime.
Kicking the Habit
Of course, making the decision to quit and actually making it stick can be easier said than done. There will always be those who insist it is simply a case of willpower alone, but in reality this simply isn’t the case. Withdrawal from tobacco use has a wide variety of a very real and often unpleasant side-effects on both physical and mental health alike.
It’s always advisable to speak with a doctor or healthcare professional, before embarking on this kind of journey. There are also plenty of extremely helpful online resources, including this ten-step guide to quitting smoking for life. As for the various pills, patches and potions available, there are several that have been clinically proven as able to increase a person’s likelihood of kicking the habit for life. One of which being varenicline (trade name Champix®), which is likely to more than double your chance of success of quitting smoking.
The process will always differ somewhat from one person to the next in terms of what works, what doesn’t, what helps and what hinders. Which is precisely why it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with as many helpful resources as possible, not to mention obtain professional support from a doctor or qualified expert.
Get Self Help – Smoking Facts
HealthExpress – Champix