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The Benefits of Being Smoke Free

Updated on December 5, 2017
Jamie M Ryan profile image

Jamie is a former smoker, and is over 1 year smoke free. Having beaten the addiction to smoking, Jamie can confidently talk about the issue.

It's not too late

We all know the dangers of smoking cigarettes. Even still, it is one of the hardest addictions and habits to break. The threat of cancer, tumors, lung and heart disease are all great reasons to kick the habit today, but still people smoke.

It is important to highlight the benefits of quitting smoking and to remember those benefits every time a craving comes around.

Let's talk about some of the positive changes your body will go through when you kick the habit.

After quitting

- 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature all return to normal levels.

- 8 hours after quitting, the nicotine levels in your body are almost completely gone!

- 12 hours after quitting, your blood oxygen levels are nearly completely back to normal, also your carbon monoxide levels are substantially lower.

- 24 hours after quitting, your body and mind start to withdrawal from nicotine. This side effect could last for nearly two weeks.

- 48 hours after quitting, your damaged nerve endings begin to regrow. Your sense of smell and taste will increase. Nicotine is completely out of your system and side effects from withdrawal will have peaked.

- 72 hours after quitting, your breathing will be easier. Lung function has increased drastically.

- 5 - 8 days after quitting, the average person will be getting 3 or 4 very strong cravings per day. These cravings can make minutes seem like forever. Keep focused and chew a piece of gum while the craving lasts, it is usually only for a few minutes.

- 9 days to 2 weeks after quitting, serious cravings will be 2 or less times per day. Tooth and gum blood circulation is back to normal and gums will become stronger.

- 2 to 4 weeks after quitting, side effects should be ending. Insomnia, anger, depression should all be ending and optimism increases.

- 4 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your risk of heart attack is cut in half. Lung function is still improving.

- 3 months to 9 months after quitting, the cilia in your lungs have recovered, helping you fight sinus or allergy problems. Your body's overall energy has increased.

- 1 year after quitting, your risk of all heart disease is half of a smokers risk.

- 5 years after quitting, your risk of hemorrhage is half of a smokers risk.

- 5 to 15 years after quitting, your risk of stroke is the same as a non-smoker.

- 20 years after quitting, your risk of pancreatic cancer is the same as a non-smoker.

You can start now

There is no better time to stop smoking than now. It will be hard, it will be nerve racking. You might fail when you try, but keep trying to quit.

I was a pack a day smoker for 10 years. We got news that we were having a baby, instantly I knew that I had to quit. It took me over a year to finally say enough is enough.

I failed at quitting over and over. One day it just clicked, I could smell the cigarette on my fingers even though I washed my hands. I could smell the smoke on my clothes, I could feel in on my skin, in my hair. I could taste it in my mouth. All of this made me realize, it was time to quit.

I have been smoke free for nearly a year now. I am never going back. I can't remember the last time that my body felt this good.

Don't give up on yourself, find your reason, make it click.

What is your recommended smoking cessation tool?

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    • Jamie M Ryan profile image

      Jamie M Ryan 6 weeks ago from Florida, United States

      I had the food urges too for a while. It was mainly late night munchy food cravings. Thanks a lot for your input!

    • Phillip Grobler profile image

      Phillip Grobler 6 weeks ago from Polokwane

      Sorry for my late reply, I stopped smoking last year and going strong, no cravings or anything, though after month 2 I had an urge to eat, was hungry all the time, lol, though that passed within a month.

    • Jamie M Ryan profile image

      Jamie M Ryan 7 weeks ago from Florida, United States

      Phillip, thank you for your insight. I agree, as long as the activity can distract you from your craving for long enough, do it.

      Congrats on being smoke free, how long has it been for you?

    • Phillip Grobler profile image

      Phillip Grobler 7 weeks ago from Polokwane

      A very nice article, very informative, I stopped smoking rather easily, the hardest part is to get yourself to just stop smoking, I just got rid of it (all cigarettes, ashtrays and avoided people that smoke freely in my company).

      For the cravings, they do only last a few minutes but yes they are aggressive cravings, the easiest way I found to handle this was simply to start doing something any activity worked well for me, if I got cravings I would simply go work out with some music, or go for a walk, drink some water etc the most common activity would set me at ease as long as the activity lasted longer then the craving, everything was perfect.

      No gum, patches etc required as long as your mind is set to do it.