Though many people smoke cigarettes on a regular basis, there is a huge push for everyone to quit. Countless studies have been done to determine the best ways to quit smoking. Most government and health agencies are making it a point to discourage people from smoking as much as possible. There are many compelling reasons why people are being encouraged to kick this habit before it’s too late.
Immediate Benefits of Quitting Smoking *
In today’s world people have become accustomed to instant gratification. What many people don’t realize is that once they quit smoking they will start to see some physical improvements in themselves. According to the American Cancer Society, within 20 minutes of a smoker’s last cigarette their blood pressure and heart rate will start to decrease immediately. Only 12 hours after that last cigarette, the level of carbon monoxide in a person’s blood will revert back to normal.
Quitting Smoking Benefits *
The benefits of quitting smoking continue in the subsequent weeks and months. Anywhere from two weeks to three months after a smoker finally gives up the habit they will see an improvement in their blood circulation. They will also experience improved lung functions. Between one month and nine months after a person quits smoking their lungs will be cleaner and they will be better able to prevent a lung infection. The amount of a mucus a person creates drops as well.
By the time a smoker has quit for an entire year they will have cut their risk of coronary heart disease in half. Four years later they will also have cut their risk in half for conditions such as bladder, throat, mouth and esophagus cancer. They will also be no more likely to suffer from a stroke than anyone else would be. Women who quit smoking are 50% less likely to suffer from cervical cancer five years afterwards.
Once an individual has gone 10 years without smoking their lung cancer risk is 50% less than that of a smoker. People are also less likely to suffer from pancreas or larynx cancer 10 years after having quit smoking. When they hit the 15 year mark their odds of suffering from coronary heart disease are the same as anyone else’s.
Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking *
The tobacco found in cigarettes contains over 7,000 chemicals. Of these 7,000 chemicals several hundred of them cause harm to a smoker’s health. Not many people realize that 70 of the chemicals found in tobacco have the ability to infect one with cancer. No matter what age a person is when they quit smoking, their health will improve as a result. Improvements are often more drastic in younger people, but there is still improvement in an older person’s health when they quit smoking. Smokers who have done damage to their respiratory system will find that once they quit they don’t cough or wheeze as much anymore. Women of child bearing age who quit smoking decrease their chances of suffering from infertility. Even if a woman does not quit smoking until she is pregnant she will be less likely to give birth to a low weight baby afterwards.
What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking? *
There are many benefits to quitting smoking that are not directly associated with one’s health. Female smokers, especially, see other benefits of quitting, including:
- An increased amount of energy. It is not unusual for a woman to feel like she has more energy to tackle everyday life than she did when she was a smoker. Mothers who have quit smoking have reported that they have more energy to play with their children as a result.
- Women who have quit smoking are also aware that their clothes and other belongings no longer smell like cigarette smoke. Some have even reported that their sense of smell improved after they quit. This includes the smell of flowers as well as food.
- An increased sense of control over one’s life is also a benefit that woman have reported after quitting smoking. Women have said that once they quit they no longer had the stress of worrying about inconveniencing others, or themselves, with their smoking. They also worried less about their health and reported having more money.
Skin Benefits of Quitting Smoking *
The Daily Mail has reported that no later than six weeks after a smoker quits their skin will improve. In those six weeks skin boasts a higher antioxidant level than before a smoker quits. More oxygen reaching the skin also causes it to become healthier. It is recommended that people who have recently quit smoking need to make exfoliation a regular part of their routine. Another recommended course of action is for former smokers to take lycopene or fish oil supplements. People who have wrinkles as a result of smoking are encouraged to undergo a chemical peel. Cosmetic medicines are also recommended, such as soft tissue fillers that can be injected into the skin.
When skin becomes damaged due to one’s smoking, it also results in them aging faster. Quitting smoking will help slow down the rate a person’s skin ages at.
Studies Concerning Benefits of Quitting *
One reason that many smokers have cited for not quitting is that it causes weight gain. Yet, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association proves that the modest amount of weight most people gain when they quit smoking still does less damage to their overall health. According to a co-author of the published study, “Our findings suggest that a modest weight gain, around 5-10 pounds, has a negligible effect on the net benefit of quitting smoking. Being able to quantify to some degree the relationship between the benefits and side effects of smoking cessation can help in counseling those who have quit or are thinking about quitting.”
A study done in 2014 determined that there are also mental health benefits to quitting smoking. This includes a decrease in a former smoker’s level of anxiety, severity of depression and a better overall mood and quality of life. These benefits apply to smokers who do and do not have a mental health condition. The results of this study have proven that people who think smoking improves their mental well-being are wrong. One reason for this is that regular smokers often experience withdrawal if they go a certain amount of time without a cigarette. As a result, smokers justify their actions by claiming having a cigarette will make them feel better. Other studies have produced evidence that within a few weeks of a smoker quitting the withdrawals stop occurring.
Quitting smoking benefits people in many ways. The benefits go far beyond improving one’s health. In general, people who quit smoking can get smaller premiums on their health insurance. They are more inclined to exercise on a regular basis and to experience an increase in their self-esteem. Those who quit smoking will see the benefits for themselves as well as for their family members, and to some extent, their friends and acquaintances as well. They may even find themselves spending more quality time with their loved ones as a result of quitting.