Smoking is one of the leading causes of death in the world, but quitting can be very difficult. The health benefits start as early as an hour after the last cigarette and only increase with each passing day.
Many people fear that it will take a long time to see results, but this is not the case.
How to start quitting smoking?
Smoking cessation means breaking the vicious cycle of addiction and, in fact, rewiring the brain to stop feeling nicotine cravings.
To succeed, smokers who want to quit should have the plan to overcome cravings and stimuli.
The benefits of smoking cessation are apparent as early as 1 hour after the last cigarette. The sooner a smoker quits, the sooner they will reduce their risk of developing cancer, heart and lung disease, and other smoking-related conditions.
Editor’s note: One of the proven ways to quit smoking is to read Alan Carr’s book The Easy Way to Quit Smoking.
As soon as a person quits smoking, his or her body begins to recover.
How it happens
After 1 hour
Within 20 minutes after smoking the last cigarette, the heart rate decreases and returns to normal. Blood pressure begins to drop and blood circulation may begin to improve.
After 12 hours
Cigarettes contain many known toxins, including carbon monoxide, a gas present in cigarette smoke.
This gas can be harmful or fatal in large doses and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs and bloodstream. If large doses are inhaled in a short time, suffocation from lack of oxygen can occur.
After just 12 hours without cigarettes, the body is cleansed of excess carbon monoxide contained in cigarettes. The level of carbon monoxide returns to normal, increasing the level of oxygen in the body.
In 1 day
Within 1 day after quitting smoking, the risk of a heart attack begins to decrease.
Smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by lowering the level of good cholesterol, which makes it difficult to perform heart-healthy exercises. Smoking also raises blood pressure and increases blood clots, increasing the risk of stroke.
Within 1 day after quitting smoking, a person’s blood pressure begins to drop, which reduces the risk of heart disease due to high blood pressure caused by smoking. During this short time, the level of oxygen in the human body will increase, which will facilitate physical activity and exercise, contributing to the formation of heart-healthy habits.
After 2 days
Smoking damages the nerve endings responsible for smell and taste. In just 2 days after quitting, a person may notice an increased sense of smell and brighter tastes as these nerves heal.
After 3 days
3 days after quitting smoking, the level of nicotine in the human body is depleted. Although it is healthier to have no nicotine in the body, this initial depletion can cause nicotine withdrawal. About 3 days after quitting smoking, most people will experience moodiness and irritability, severe headaches, and cravings as the body adjusts.
After 1 month
After 1 month, a person’s lung function begins to improve. As the lungs heal and improve in volume, ex-smokers may notice a decrease in cough and shortness of breath. Athletic endurance increases and ex-smokers may notice a recovery in cardiovascular activity, such as running and jumping.
In 1-3 months
Over the next few months after quitting smoking, circulation continues to improve.
After 9 months
Nine months after quitting smoking, the lungs have recovered significantly. The delicate hair-like structures inside the lungs, known as cilia, have recovered from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke. These structures help push mucus out of the lungs and help fight infections.
Around the same time, many former smokers notice a decrease in the incidence of lung infections because the healed cilia can do their job more easily.
After 1 year
A year after quitting smoking, a person’s risk of developing coronary heart disease is halved. This risk will continue to decline beyond the 1-year mark.