When you pick up a habit, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Quitting smoking may make you feel as though you’ve lost some pleasure in your life. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. It can rob you of your good cholesterol, raise your blood pressure temporarily, increase blood clotting, and make it more difficult to exercise. Smoking is secretly making your life and your health worse, so quitting will actually bring more pleasure to your life than smoking ever did.
Despite all of these scary facts, your health can be repaired. Almost immediately after you quit smoking, your organs can start to fix themselves. You can start getting better the day you put down the cigarettes.
When you stop smoking, your senses of taste and smell start to come back to life. As a nonsmoker, you can go so many places and enjoy so many experiences that were off limits to you as a smoker. Now you can watch a movie in a theater without wanting to jump up and go outside for a smoke. You can take that long trip now without the discomfort of being unable to smoke on the plane, train or bus. You can keep a list of fun activities you can now do instead of smoking during your transition phase.
Your non-smoking life has a whole world of opportunities, whether it’s for more adventures or for better health! According to the American Heart Association and the U.S. surgeon general, this is how your body starts to recover after quitting:
– In your first 20 minutes after quitting: your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
– After 12 hours of smoke-free living: the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
– After two weeks to three months of smoke-free living: your circulation and lung function begin to improve.
– After one to nine months of smoke-free living: clear and deeper breathing gradually returns as coughing and shortness of breath diminishes; you regain the ability to cough productively instead of hacking, which cleans your lungs and reduce your risk of infection.
– One year after quitting smoking: your excess risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
– After 5 years: Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Your risk of cervical cancer and stroke return to normal.
– After 10 years: You are half as likely to die from lung cancer. Your risk of larynx or pancreatic cancer decreases.
– After 15 years: your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s.
In this case, quitters always win. Visit healthyforgood.heart.org for more tips on how to decrease your cardiovascular disease risks.