In this article, we will discuss 12 things that happen to your body when you quit smoking. But let’s start with a general discussion first. Although the dangers of smoking are not a secret, still more than 38 million Americans smoke according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Certain situations seem to cause people to turn to smoke cigarettes such as living in states with low income, not graduating high school, living under the poverty line, being disabled, or being under mental stress.
There are up to 5,000 chemical substances in a lit cigarette. As a matter of fact, smoking can cause a lot of serious health problems.
Health Problems and Risks Associated with Smoking
The following are health problems and risks that are caused by smoking cigarettes, according to the CDC:
- Did you know smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, road accidents, and gun-related incidents?
- The number of U.S. citizens that have died from smoking cigarettes is almost 10 times the number of U.S. citizens who died in all the wars fought by the U.S.
- Nearly 90% of all lung cancer-related deaths are caused by cigarette smoking. An even more surprising fact is that lung cancer causes more deaths per year in women than breast cancer.
- 80% of all deaths that happen due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are caused by cigarettes.
- The mortality rate of men and women who smoke is higher than of those who don’t.
Moreover, the risk of the following diseases is raised significantly due to the habit of smoking:
- Coronary heart disease risk increases 2 to 4 times.
- The risk of stroke is increased 2 to 4 times.
- The risk of developing lung cancer goes up by 25 times in men and 25.7 times in women.
Cigarettes produce a temporary illusion of lowering stress levels. However, the long-term health problems are just not worth it.
This article is all about what your body does to heal itself after you stop smoking and what healthy habits you can adopt to relieve stress naturally.
12 Ways Your Body Heals Itself When You Quit Smoking
According to the American Lung Association, “Every year in the U.S., more than 480,000 people die from tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, making it the leading cause of preventable death in this country.”
1. Your body’s oxygen level returns to normal.
When you smoke a cigarette, you inhale carbon monoxide, and this gas exceeds the oxygen levels in the body. Smokers have 3-6% percent of carbon monoxide gas levels in their blood, while the normal level is 1%. With high levels of this gas in your blood, it becomes difficult for the body to adequately supply blood to different organs.
The good news is that as soon as you stop smoking, the oxygen levels in your blood start returning to normal. It takes only 8 hours after quitting smoking for your body to remove carbon monoxide from the blood.
2. Your sense of smell and taste flourishes when you quit smoking.
After you quit smoking, your senses of smell and taste start to return to their normal functioning within just two days. There are some addictive substances in cigarettes that cause your senses to become dull, but when your body starts to cleanse itself after quitting smoking, you will be able to taste your favorite foods and smell them even more clearly.
3. Your blood circulation improves.
Your body is an efficient machine that knows how to correct itself. As soon as you quit smoking, within 20 minutes your blood circulation will start to improve.
This reduces the risk of heart attack, strokes, and cancer since your organs can once again get the proper blood supply they need.
4. You will experience fewer coughing fits and infections.
Smoke from cigarettes irritates the inner lining of the lungs, causing coughing. Moreover, the immune system of smokers becomes weak, which leads to increased risk of infections. Smoking can also cause inflammation of the lungs, which makes it difficult for the air to pass through the lungs. There are small air sacs in your lungs whose function is to distribute oxygen. Smoking can cause damage to these sacs and prevents proper oxygen distribution in the body.
There are tiny hairs in your airways called cilia, and even they are not safe from smoking. These small hairs help filter the dirt and mucus to allow our lungs to function properly. As soon as you quit smoking, the cilia start to regrow and your lungs start to become healthy once again.
5. You’ll have more energy.
When you quit smoking, your body will start to remove toxins such as nicotine and other harmful chemicals that get accumulated in your body due to smoking. This will result in increased interest in different activities and hobbies. After quitting you may even be motivated to adopt exercise as a stress reliever because exercising can also release our body’s natural feel-good chemicals.
6. Your heart will become healthier.
Within 5 to 10 years of quitting smoking, the risk of heart attack and stroke will become the same as that of a non-smoker. We know this seems like a long time, but the sooner you quit smoking, the faster you will heal.
7. Your breathing will significantly improve.
After you quit cigarettes, your body will be free from carbon monoxide, which means your blood will have more room for oxygen. Within 3 minutes of quitting, you will have an increased lung capacity, and you will be able to breathe deeply.
8. Your risk of cancer decreases significantly.
All the chemicals that you inhale when smoking increase the risk of cancer in different organs of your body, especially your lungs. But within five years of quitting, your chances of getting stomach, mouth, throat, and lung cancer reduce up to 50%. And these chances keep on reducing the longer you stay smoke-free.
9. Your immune system will improve.
The human body has a powerful ability to clean itself from the toxins we put into it. So when we stop smoking and taking in chemicals, our immune system becomes active once again. The immune system will start to work to its maximum ability once there are no toxins constantly entering our body in the form of smoke.
10. Your breath will smell better.
Bad breath is often caused by smoking. The majority of smokers have a distinct smell explicitly associated with what they smoke. The cause for this bad breath is that the smoke from cigarettes causes our mouths and throats to dry out. A dry mouth and throat become a breeding ground for germs. Once we quit smoking, our saliva production returns to normal, and our breath stops smelling.
11. You have less brain fog.
Chemicals and intoxicating substances present in cigarettes cause your brain to feel foggy or dull most of the time. But when you quit smoking, and the inhalation of these chemicals stops, your mind becomes much clearer.
12. Your hair will start growing again.
According to a study by Dermatology, hair of smokers can fall off easily. So, as soon as you stop smoking, you may notice that your hair will start to become long, thick, and healthy.
Ways to Cope With Stress Other Than Smoking
Most people say that they use smoking as a means to escape stress while they ignore the health risks associated with it. But there are healthier options to help you cope with stress and also keep your mind off of smoking when you are trying to quit.
- Exercising: Exercise gives you an outlet to let out your stress, and it will also help you get rid of your nicotine addiction when you quit smoking.
- Talk with friends and family: Build healthy relationships and connect with your loved ones to get the support you need to handle stress. Your friends and family can also help you cope with the process of quitting.
- Try something new: Now that you have quit smoking, you will have a lot of free time and money to spend on things that interest you the most. You can even try new things that you always wanted to do like taking a trip or learning a new musical instrument.
- Set goals: Set goals when you are quitting; this will help you stay focused on the results.
We hope this article motivated you to quit smoking and helped you when it comes to how to do it. So, what are you waiting for? Quit smoking today to get the best instant and long-term health benefits. Good luck!