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We’ve known so many people who smoke and have promised to themselves they will quit. There are some people out there however who will not try. They can’t take the nicotine cravings and crumble or they think like
‘I’ve already done so much damage to my lungs it’s not even worth it’
Well we have news for you. Your body is amazing and your health starts improving after only 20 minutes! That’s right, only 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your body starts to heal itself!
The sooner you start quitting smoking, the faster it will take for you to reduce your chances of developing lung cancer and heart disease.
In this article we will be discussing what happens to your body when you quit smoking, going through each stage of the cycle, and all the health benefits that come with it.
Let’s start with the bold claim we made earlier:
After 20 Minutes
Your blood pressure and heart rate return to its normal levels. As you are aware, smoking increases heart rate and blood pressure so after 20 minutes, your body regulates the abnormal increase and gets you back to a comfortable state.
After 12 Hours
Your body’s natural carbon monoxide levels return to their normal state. This means that your heart will not have to work as hard to pump blood around your body to give it the oxygen it needs to function properly.
After 24 Hours
Any coughing that you experience will be greater than what you are used to. This is a good thing. This is what happens to your lungs when you stop smoking; they are in the process of clearing up allowing for you to consume more oxygen and will be help you actually breathe easier.
After 48 Hours
As you know, smoking is detrimental to your sense of smell and taste. This is because the receptors in your nose and tongue will have been damaged after long term suffering.
However, after 48 hours you will notice that actually, your sense of smell and taste will have improved; the nerve endings will start repairing. This would be a great time to eat one of your favourite foods and really remember why you enjoy it so much!
There will be also no nicotine left in your body at this point. This is the hardest part of the quitting cycle as the cravings for nicotine will be at its peak. Here is where you need to be at your strongest. It’s where many people fail.
Try something that will keep these cravings at arm’s length. You could even try and put yourself in a place where smoking is prohibited. This is the biggest hurdle you will face. Once you make it over the hurdle, it becomes a lot lot easier!
After 1 Week
Congratulations, you’ve made it past the hardest part of the withdrawl. Your lungs are so much cleaner, your breathing is stronger and your body is getting a far better supply of oxygen. You may experience some triggers that will give you an urge to light up again. Just be calm, remember why you’re doing this and how great you’re feeling right now.
After 1 Month
This is the stage where the long term benefits of what happens when you quit smoking kick in. You will not be experiencing shortness in breath as you were previously as your lungs continue to improve.
After 9 Months
Human bodies seem to like the 9 months cycle. By this point, your blood circulation will have recovered dramatically and your lungs will be in their best shape for a long, long time. The increased lung health will mean that you will now be less susceptible to illness. Your coughing will actually be a benefit to you rather than a repeated inconvenience.
After 1 Year
This a huge milestone in your recovery. When you stop smoking after a year, the risk of heart disease is half of what it was this time last year. Well done you!
After 5 Years
The chances of you suffering from a stroke are now the same as a nonsmoker. Your arteries and veins are able to function properly and can expand to increase blood flow. As your body continues to repair itself, the risk of a stroke decreases along the way. Plus, if you look at where you were when you first started quitting, you are half as likely to suffer from cancer in the throat, mouth and, for a female, the cervix.
After 10 Years
The chances of you suffering from lung cancer are now as half as likely compared to when you first started to quit. And the likelihood that you suffer from the other cancers we described after 5 years have gone down dramatically.
After 15 Years
The risk that you will suffer from heart disease are now back down to those that have never smoked in their life. You will have gone through so much to get this point and you should be proud.
The future is bright. Smoking does a lot of harm and damage to your body but as soon as your stop, your body gets to work on repairing itself.
As we have seen, your body feels the effects from quitting from as little as 20 minutes!
After each stage in the recovery cycle, the benefits far outweigh the itch to spark up that cigarette that’s been on your mind. It will take a long time but eventually, you will have the same chances of developing serious illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease as a non smoker.
Quitting smoking will be the best decision you will make in your entire life.
Stop smoking, start repairing.