06/18/2009 - Articles

When you stop smoking

By: Robert W. Griffith, MD

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Stopping smoking at any age is very hard to do. For relatively healthy young people, the prospect of avoiding a serious illness (e.g. lung cancer, a heart attack) is often too far off to act as a strong incentive.

(Young people always think they'll live for ever, or at least until they're 50.) So it helps to think of some of the immediate benefits of stopping smoking, as well as the more distant ones. Here they are:

20 minutes after your last cigarette- your blood pressure and pulse rate return to what they were just before your last cigarette, and your hands and feet warm up to the temperature they were before smoking.

8 hours after your last cigarette- the carbon monoxide level in you blood falls, and the oxygen level increases, so that both become normal.

24 hours after your last cigarette- the chance of your having a heart attack is lessened

48 hours after your last cigarette- your nerve endings start regrowing, so your senses of both smell and taste improve. Walking becomes easier.

By 3 months after your last cigarette- your circulation has improved, and your lung function has increased by up to 30%.

By 9 months after your last cigarette- the cells lining your airways have fully recovered, so that they remove mucus better, you cough less, have less sinus congestion, and your shortness of breath has gone.

1 year after your last cigarette- your risk of coronary heart disease is now half that of a smoker's.

5 years after your last cigarette- your risk of having a stroke is now greatly reduced, approaching that of someone who has never smoked.

10 years after your last cigarette- your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of someone still smoking. Your chances of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, gullet, pancreas, kidney, and bladder are greatly reduced, compared with a smoker's.

15 years after your last cigarette- your risk of having coronary heart disease is no greater then that of someone who has never smoked. Congratulations!

Related Links
Are cigars just as bad?
Quitting smoking
Habitrol Stop Smoking System

Related Books
The Stop Smoking Workbook

Created on: 10/11/2000
Reviewed on: 06/18/2009

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