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The Comprehensive Quitting Smoking Timeline

When you first quit smoking, you will have Dr. Jekyll moments while your body goes through withdrawals from nicotine. However, don’t despair because you will begin to feel the benefits within the first twenty minutes. With a quitting smoking timeline you will be able to easily see these steps so that you know what is going on. Letting those around you, that are closest to you, in on this information will help them support you while you undertake this life transforming decision.

Benefits of a Quitting Smoking Timeline *

One of the benefits of a quitting smoking timeline is to make you aware that what you are feeling is normal and the sequences of your withdrawal are well documented and will help you understand what is going on. The long term benefits are lowered blood pressure, heart rate and a reduced incident of heart attack or stroke, over time.quitting smoking timeline

Twenty Minutes *

One of the most immediate benefits is that your blood pressure and heart rate will return to normal levels, of one appropriate to your age and physical condition. The temperature of your hands and feet will also return to normal as your circulatory system begins to rid itself of nicotine.

Two-Hour Mark *

You will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms about two hours after your last cigarette. Symptoms can include the following:

  • Intense nicotine cravings
  • Tension
  • Frustration
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Insomnia and/or drowsiness
  • Increased food cravings
  • Restlessness

Having hard candy or raw vegetables handy can help you cope with some of these cravings. Physical activity can also help with symptoms and will release endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in your body.

Eight Hours *

At this point, the nicotine in your blood stream has decreased by approximately 93%. Although not yet nicotine free, you are getting there.

Twelve Hours *

At around the 12-hour mark carbon monoxide levels in your body will decrease, dropping to normal levels, thereby allowing oxygen levels to increase. Toxic in high levels, carbon monoxide bonds to red blood cells displacing oxygen.

Twenty-Four Hours as a Quitter *

With a 70% higher risk of a heart attack than nonsmokers, one short day after you quit, your risk of a heart attack will decrease. In a few weeks, your mood levels should moderate and you will begin to feel the full effects of being a quitter.

Forty-Eight Hours Smoke Free *

Smoking also desensitizes both your ability to smell and taste, but 48 hours after you quit these senses will begin to return as your body regenerates the nerve endings making foods taste good again.

Seventy-Two Hours *

At this time, your body is free of nicotine and your lungs will become clearer. Episodes of craving will have peaked and be on a downward slope. Restlessness will lessen.

Three days *

At this point of your timeline after quitting smoking your body will be free of nicotine and the symptoms that began after your last cigarette will peak. At this point it is not unusual to experience headaches, nausea, cramps as well as the symptoms mentioned above that occur a few hours after quitting. Give yourself a reward for making it this far with the money you have saved due to not buying cigarettes.quitting smoking timeline

Five to Eight Days *

As an ex-smoker who was an average user you will drop to three crave episodes per day that you will need to get through, but at this point it should be getting easier. They last for less than three minutes so a distraction of hard candy or activity will help you get past these moments

Two to Three Weeks *

You should be getting your wind back now, due to improved lung function, enabling you to participate in activities that may have been curtailed by smoking. Physical activities can help you deal with symptoms of withdrawal. Your bouts of anger, lack of concentration, insomnia, depression, anxiety and impatience should have stopped or greatly diminished by this time. If you are still having difficulty you may need help from your physician to remain an ex-smoker.

Twenty-One Days *

Receptors in the brain begin to return to the normalcy of those of a non-smoker.

Eight Weeks *

Normalization of insulin levels even though weight gain has occurred.

One to Nine Months *

The regeneration process of your body begins healing your body in the first few weeks after you become a quitter. This regeneration helps your lungs continue to repair. The cilia in the lungs, the hair-like organelles that push mucus from the lungs, will begin to function properly as they begin repairing themselves. This will help shortness of breath and coughing should diminish over time, as should sinus problems that are due to smoking. Your energy should also be increased and symptoms of even the heaviest smokers should go away a few months after becoming a quitter.

One Year – Smoke Free *

Your risk for heart disease will be lowered by 50% giving you a greater chance of dodging a heart attack. As a smoker, you are twice as likely to have heart disease as a nonsmoker is. The benefits of quitting smoking timeline as you went through the steps may not have been clear but as a quitter for a year you now have a lower chance of heart disease the longer you remain tobacco free. A party at this time would be appropriate. A years as a nonsmoker will put you well on your way to a healthier rest of your life.

Five Years – and Still Smoke Free *

The carbon monoxide and other pollutants that caused your blood vessels to narrow when you were a smoker increased your chance of a stroke. After quitting for five to fifteen years your risk of stroke lowers to that of someone who has never smoked and is one more benefit of becoming a nonsmoker. Women who have become nonsmokers have lessened their risk of becoming diabetic and it has reached that of a nonsmoker.

Ten Years as a Nonsmoker *

Not only has your chance of stroke dropped, your chance of death from lung cancer is half of that of someone who continues to smoke. Other cancers like esophageal cancer, mouth cancer and cancer of the larynx have decreased and risk of diabetes is now close to that of a nonsmoker.

Fifteen Years *

Coronary heart disease risk is now that of a nonsmoker and your risk of getting pancreatic cancer, arrhythmias, coronary heart disease, angina, and heart infections will be that of someone who never smoked. Your life expectancy has been increased and the effects of smoking on your body have healed during your time as a nonsmoker.

Twenty Years *

For women, the risk of death due to smoking related maladies and diseases are that of someone who never smoked. Good for you as you have beaten the odds and become a nonsmoker for life.

The Long Term Benefits of Being a Nonsmoker *

A quit smoking timeline day by day may help when you begin quitting smoking. You will be able to see your progress and reward yourself accordingly; well you should. Quitting smoking will be one of the hardest but most rewarding things that you ever do. Do it for you and those you love so that you will be around to tell them about your journey.

The benefits of becoming a nonsmoker are numerous and listed on the quit smoking timeline. A reduced risk of lung disease, cancer, diabetes, circulatory disease, COPD and other illnesses are your greatest reward when you become a quitter. A longer healthier lifestyle can be yours. Quitting is not easy and there is help out there for people who are having difficulty tackling this addiction by themselves. If you need help, various programs can help you become a quitter for life.


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