When Smokers Quit – What Are the Benefits Over Time?
20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.
12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.
10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.
15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.
And if you won't/can't do it for yourself, consider those around you who love you. They want you around for the long haul (yeah, I'm talking to YOU anonybro - and now it would seem that I'm talking to another significant person in my life too, who shall go nameless). Here's a little bit more info about some other kinds of benefits to those around you:
Health of Others
Smoking not only harms your health but the health of those around you. Exposure to secondhand smoke (also called environmental tobacco smoke or passive smoking) includes exhaled smoke as well as smoke from burning cigarettes.
Studies have shown that secondhand smoke causes thousands of deaths each year from lung cancer and heart disease in healthy nonsmokers.
Smoking by mothers is linked to a higher risk of their babies developing asthma in childhood, especially if the mother smokes while pregnant. It is also associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and low-birth weight infants. Babies and children raised in a household where there is smoking have more ear infections, colds, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems than children from nonsmoking families. Secondhand smoke can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness.
Setting an Example
If you have children, you probably want to set a good example for them. When asked, nearly all smokers say they don't want their children to smoke, but children whose parents smoke are more likely to start smoking themselves. You can become a good role model for them by quitting now.
When I attended the Leadership Summit we had a wonderful and charismatic speaker. This gentleman had never smoked in his life but had lost a lung to cancer because of the effects of secondhand smoke. As he put it, "If there is a smoking section in the workplace, none of the workplace is smoke free."
The latest report from the Surgeon General concludes that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
The report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, finds that even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause immediate harm. The report says the only way to protect nonsmokers from the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors.
I know that it is hard. Believe me. As Mark Twain said, "Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times."
Head over to the ACS Guide to Quitting Smoking today. There are people there to help you.
Double your chances
of quitting for good.
to speak with someone who can help.