The Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Harmful chemicals and poisons in tobacco smoke can damage the body and inhibit key functions. Smokers often find that the health benefits of quitting smoking are essential motivators to stop and not return to smoking.
The health benefits of quitting are direct and substantial and far exceed the risks of any concerns over immediate weight gain, which, on average, is usually approximately five pounds. The benefits are achieved by everyone and smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance their well-being.
On stopping smoking, the body experiences a range of positive side effects and, as you can see from the timeline below, the healing process begins within just 20 minutes of giving up.
• Blood pressure and pulse return to normal.
• Oxygen levels return to normal.
• Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half.
• Carbon monoxide levels in blood drop to normal.
• Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body.
• Lungs start to clear out mucous and other smoking debris.
• There is no nicotine left in the body.
• Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.
• Breathing becomes easier.
• Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
3 – 9 months
• Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung functions are increased by up to 10%.
• Excess risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by about half and declines gradually hereafter.
• Risk of heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
• Risk of stroke returns to the level of people who have never smoked (5 – 15 years).
• Risk of Lung Cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.
• Risk of lung cancer is reduced to close to that observed in nonsmokers.
• Risk of coronary heart disease falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
• If you have quit smoking before age 50 you have halved the risk of dying in the next 15 years compared with continuing smokers.