What happens after you quit smoking?

May 02, 2018 | by Joseph Kash, MD

If you smoke, your doctor has probably already told you that you need to quit. Smoking can harm nearly every organ in your body as soon as you start.

When you quit smoking, you can lower your risk for smoking-related diseases and add years to your life. As the leading cause of death in the United States, smoking puts stress on all parts of your body — it’s stress your body doesn’t need and stress that is preventable.

E-cigarettes aren’t any better for you. Even though smokers don’t inhale the same amount of tar and carbon monoxide using an e-cigarette as they would with a regular cigarette, the nicotine you are inhaling still has a lasting effect. The use of any amount of nicotine can:

  • Affect your brain, nervous system and heart
  • Increase your blood pressure and heart rate
  • Harm a developing fetus and cause lasting consequences for the developing brain and lung function in newborns
  • Cause lasting cognitive and behavioral impairments in adolescent children and young adults

As soon as you quit smoking, your body begins to repair itself. The American Lung Association provides a timeline of what happens in your body and the health benefits you’ll experience after you stop smoking:

20 minutes after quitting:

  •  Your heart rate drops to a normal level.

12 hours after quitting:

  •  The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting:

  • Your risk of having a heart attack begins to drop.
  • Your lung function begins to improve.

1 to 9 months after quitting:

  • Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

1 year after quitting:

  • Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 to 15 years after quitting:

  • Your risk of having a stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker's.
  • Your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker's.

10 years after quitting:

  • Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker's.
  • Your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker's.
  • Your risk of getting cervical cancer or cancer of the larynx, kidney or pancreas decreases.

15 Years after quitting:

  • Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.

By quitting smoking, you can rewire your brain to live without nicotine. But in order to stop, you need to find your reason to quit

Your reason to quit smoking should be something personal and powerful that can help you quit. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself these questions. Determining why you want to quit can help inspire you to remain smoke-free.

What is your reason to quit smoking? Tell us in the below comments.

Related blogs:

Revive your resolution to quit smoking

Smoking and drinking can lead to more than lung cancer

JUULing: Disturbing new vaping trend among youth

 

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