Health benefits of quitting smoking

There are tons of health benefits of quitting smoking. Smoking tobacco is dangerous for health. Smoke from tobacco contains many carcinogenic substances like acetone, tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide. Smoking causes various health problems which can be both long and short term.

Smoking is highly addictive (due to addictive drugs like nicotine), approximately 70-75% smokers want to quit smoking but fail to do so. It is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths worldwide.

Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients, many of which are also found in cigars and hookahs. When these ingredients burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the American Lung Association. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them are linked to cancer.

Side effects of Smoking on Health

Health effects of Smoking:

1. Bad Smell

Smoke from tobacco sticks to your clothes and hair which makes you smell like smoke. Smoking also gives you a bad breath.

2. Dulls sense of smell and taste

Smoking dulls the senses of a person especially that of smell and taste. Smoking renders people unable to appreciate the taste of food which in turn can decrease their appetite.

3. Affects Central Nervous System

Nicotine is one of the ingredients of tobacco smoke. Nicotine is highly addictive and a mood-altering drug. It makes you energetic by quickly reaching your brain. But when it’s effect wears-off you will feel lethargic and your body will demand more nicotine. Nicotine is the main reason why people are not able to quit smoking.

Nicotine also causes mood swings making you anxious, irritated and depressed. It can also lead to headaches and sleeping disorders.

4. Affects Respiratory System

Smoking impairs our respiratory system to a large extent. Breathing is smoke causes various harmful chemicals (nicotine, carbon monoxide, benzene etc) to enter your lungs. Over the time these harmful substances damages the respiratory system and can cause irreversible damage to the lungs.

Chronic lung disorders caused by smoking:

  • Chronic Bronchitis: It is the permanent inflammation of lungs
  • Emphysema: The air sacs present in the lungs gets destroyed
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
  • Lung Cancer

5. Affects Cardiovascular System

Smoking increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and several other heart disorders. Nicotine present in tobacco tightens the blood vessels which obstructs blood flow and in the long run it can lead to peripheral artery disease.

Smoking raises the blood pressure thus increasing the risk of a heart stroke. Further smoking causes the blood vessels to get weakened which in turn increases the blood clots.

6. Premature Ageing (Affects Skin, nails and hair)

Harmful chemicals present in the smoke changes the structure of the skin. It is also one of the leading causes of premature ageing of the face as it obstructs the blood flow to the skin tissues and thus deprives skin cells of oxygen.

Smoking can increase the risk of fungal infections in the nails. It causes the loss the melanin in the hair leading to grey hair and also promotes hair loss.

7. Cancer

Smoking can cause many types of cancer:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Mouth Cancer
  • Throat Cancer
  • Larynx Cancer
  • Esophagus Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Skin Cancer

8. Affects Digestive System

Smoking affects pancreas causing the problem of insulin resistance which increases the risk of type-2 diabetes. It can also cause pancreatic cancer.

9. Decreases libido and affects reproductive system

Nicotine present in tobacco smoke obstructs the blood flow in the genital areas of both men and women. This decreases the libido in both males and females. Smoking decreases the sex hormonal levels in both males and females and can also cause impotence in some people.

10. Risk to others

Smoking not only puts your health in jeopardy but also the health of other people around you who do not smoke.

Secondhand smoke have the same effect on the non-smoker as the one who does smoke. Only a little amount of secondhand smoke is enough to cause health problems.

Secondhand smoke is associated with a large number of deaths worldwide.

11. Affects Physical Activities

Smoke hits your ability to perform physical activities drastically. Smoking causes your heart and lungs work harder than normal which makes it difficult to perform regular physical activities like climbing stairs, jogging etc.

Smoking Cessation

  • Quitting smoking means to rewire your brain to stop nicotine cravings and to break the addiction cycle.
  • There are a tons of benefits to quit smoking and the sooner a smoker quits the quicker he will reduce the risk of cancer, pulmonary diseases and other health risks caused due to smoking.
  • The benefits of quitting smoking start in as meager as 1 hour after the last cigarette.

What happens to your body when you quit smoking (Quit Smoking Timeline)

Benefits of stopping smoking begins immediately, as soon as the smoker stops smoking the body begins to recover automatically:

After 1 hour

In a time as less as 1 hour after the last cigarette, heart rate drops and returns to normal. Also, blood pressure and blood circulation starts to improve.

After 12 hours

Toxic substances like benzene, carbon monoxide are present in cigarette smoke which are not visible to the naked eye. These are very harmful to the health as they prevent the oxygen from entering the lungs and inhibits proper flow of blood and can cause suffocation.

After 12 hours, body starts detoxing itself of these toxins and oxygen levels starts increasing in the body.

After 1 day

Smoking elevates the blood pressure and forms clots in the blood thus increases the risk of heart attack.

After a day of quitting smoking cholesterol levels and blood pressure starts improving, hence reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases and stroke.

After 2 days

Smoking damages the nerve endings responsible for the senses of smell and taste. In as little as 2 days after quitting, a person may notice a heightened sense of smell and more vivid tastes as these nerves heal.

After 3 days

After 3 days of quitting smoking nerves responsible for smell and taste starts healing. Also the nicotine levels starts depleting from the body.

This decrease in nicotine levels results nicotine cravings. Mood swings, headaches and irritability are experienced by the person as the body starts to rewire itself.

After 1 month

Lungs begins to recover improving the lung capacity. This decreases the shortness of breath and enhances the physical capabilities of the person.

After 9 months

After 9 months lungs have significantly improved themselves. Cilia, a delicate hair-like structure present inside the lungs which is responsible for pushing the mucus out of the lungs and fighting infections, which took a toll from the cigarette smoke have healed by this time.

After 1 year

By this time the persons risk of coronary heart diseases have been cut down to half which will continue to drop over the period of time.

After 5 years

Cigarette smoke narrows the blood vessels and arteries obstructing the flow of blood and results in blood clots. 5 years after quitting smoking the body have healed itself and the blood vessels and arteries begins to widen, thus lowering the blood clots and the risk of stroke.

After 10 years

Persons chances of developing the lung cancer are cut down to half and vulnerability to other form of cancers like pancreatic, mouth and throat cancer reduces significantly.

After 20 years

After 20 years of no smoking the risk of death caused by the diseases caused by smoking (lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, pulmonary diseases etc.) comes down to the level of a normal person who has never smoked in his life.

Tips to quit smoking

  • Find a strong reason or motivation
  • Undergo a nicotine replacement therapy
  • Avoid alcohol and other things which triggers smoking cravings
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Start working out regularly
  • Keep a clean house
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Do meditation
  • Go out for a walk
  • Take medical advice when you decide to quit smoke and go cold turkey

See Also: Diabetes

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