After quitting smoking, the body starts working positively in just a few minutes! The health benefits go above within minutes of your last cigarette. The physical improvements in the body can be observed just within the first hour of smoking termination.
Your body after Quitting Smoking- From 20 minutes to 20 years
At 20 Minutes After Quitting
- Blood pressure decreases.
- The pulse rate drops.
- The body temperature of hands and feet increases.
At 8 Hours Smoke-Free
- Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood decrease by over 50%.
- The oxygen level in blood increases to normal.
At 24 Hours Smoke-Free
- The chance of a heart attack decreases.
At 48 Hours Smoke-Free
- Nerve endings start to regrow.
- The ability to smell and taste improves.
At 72 Hours Smoke-Free
- Lungs begin to relax and breathing is easier
- Nicotine is completely eliminated from the body. As a result, the nicotine withdrawal symptoms will reach their peak. You need to stay focussed and not smoke again, no matter how bad your cravings are.
At 5 to 10 days Smoke-Free
- Reduction in the number of nicotine cravings experienced in a day.
At 2 to 12 weeks Smoke-Free
- Blood Circulation starts to improve.
- Physical activities become a lot easier.
- The individual would be free of the addiction and psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal end.
At 3 to 9 months Smoke-Free
- Lung functioning begins to improve remarkably
- Wheezing and coughing becomes less frequent
- The risk of respiratory infections is reduced.
At 1 year Smoke-Free
- The risk of heart disease falls by around 50%.
At 5 years Smoke-Free
- The risk of stroke is reduced
- The blood vessels begin to widen again, which makes the risk of blood clots less likely.
At 10 years Smoke-Free
- Risk of lung cancer is reduced by 50%
At 15 years Smoke-Free
- The risk of developing heart diseases reaches the same as that of a non-smoker.
At 20 years Smoke-Free
- The risk of developing pancreatic cancer now becomes equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked in his life. In women, the risk of dying from smoking-related causes is also equal to that of a non-smoker. (Also Read: Smoking and its implications on pregnancy)
The Immediate Benefits of Quitting Smoking
The chemicals present in cigarettes affect a smoker in many more ways than he or she realizes. When a smoker quits smoking and starts to observe changes in the discomforts that he has been living with, such as fatigue, headaches or chronic sinus irritation, for instance, he then starts to put two and two together.
It’s not being said that all physical ailments of smokers can be detected to tobacco use. But, the individual would be pleasantly surprised at various changes that took place in his body after he stopped smoking. As mentioned above, some changes can be observed in just a few hours after the last cigarette while some things normalize after a while. The higher the damage is, the longer it takes to recover. The individual would observe many additional improvements in the days and months after quitting.
Know what triggers the Urge to Smoke
Triggers are what make you want to light a cigarette. Different smokers have different triggers. Triggers can be anything from a stressful situation, a cup of morning coffee, partying or socializing, or smelling cigarette smoke or even seeing someone smoke.
Most triggers fall into one of the below mentioned 4 categories:
- Emotional Triggers
- Pattern Triggers
- Social Triggers
- Withdrawal Triggers
Make your first line of defense as identifying your triggers and understanding the pattern and deal with them in the best, smoke-free way.
- Anxiety (Also Read: What is Situational Anxiety? What are its Effects on the Body? )
- Feeling low
- Feeling Happy
- Cooled off after a fight
How to deal with emotional triggers?
- Talk about your emotions (Also Read: How to Handle Emotional Eating? )
- Take some slow, deep breaths
- Listen to calming music
- Talking on the phone
- Drinking alcohol
- Watching TV
- Finishing a meal
- Drinking coffee (Also Read: Myth or Fact: Is Coffee Beneficial for Gallstones?)
- Taking a work break
- After sex
- Before going to bed
How to deal with pattern triggers?
- Find a replacement like chew gum or candy
- Try other activities to keep your hands busy.
- Get moving- go for a walk, ride a bike or go swimming.
- Going to a bar or concert
- Going to a party or social events
- Seeing someone else smoke
- Having friends who smoke
How to deal with social triggers?
- Avoid places where people smoke
- Ask your friends not to smoke around you.
- Ask for support from loved ones.
- Craving cigarette
- Smelling cigarette smoke
- Staying near cigarettes, lighters, or a match-box
- Feeling restless
- Having withdrawal symptoms
How to deal with withdrawal triggers?
- Distract yourself.
- Find another thing to take your mind off the craving.
Decide to Quit and Stick to It
I will not sugar coat things here. Fair fact, it would be hard to put down your last cigarette and begin a smoking cessation. Most smokers have an intense combo of fear and excitement commencing their quitting date. Feeling scared to quit smoking is totally normal and natural is a consequence of nicotine addiction.
However, you need to overcome the fear and anxiety and do not allow any such fear to paralyze you. Pick a quitting date and stick to your plan. The benefits of quitting that you will experience in the short and long term are worth the effort it takes to achieve.