July—A time for cookouts and smoke-outs.

Ah, July...the flash of fireworks and the warmth of midsummer on your skin, the heady scents wafting from the outdoor grill and the burst of a ripe tomato on your tongue. It's a month for looking good and feeling good—and enjoying all the pleasures your senses have to offer. So what better time could there be than July to consider all the benefits a smoke-free life can bring you?

Fire up the grill—not that cigarette.

Smoking damages the nerve endings in your mouth and nose, so the divine flavors and scents of summer are wasted on those who smoke. But just after 48 cigarette-free hours, the sweet scent of freshly mown grass and the crisp taste of freshly squeezed lemonade will be entirely yours once more.

Stop getting cold feet.

Nicotine prevents blood from efficiently flowing through your body, so if you're experiencing chilly limbs during the balmy days of July, you probably have smoking to blame. But you should know that after only a couple of smoke-free days you'll notice an improvement in circulation—your hands and feet will be warmer and less clammy, and you won't be constantly reaching for those winter socks.

Seeing is believing.

We've all heard about the damage tobacco smoke can do to our heart and lungs, but many of us don't know that smoking can cause irreparable damage to our eyesight. Toxins from cigarettes have been linked to cataracts, degraded night vision and retinal damage, especially for longtime smokers. But committing to a smoke-free life can halt and even reverse the damage to your vision —and help ensure you'll be enjoying those brilliant Fourth of July fireworks for years to come.

Get back that healthy summer glow.

Forget about using tanning oils and spending dangerously long days lying out in the sun in the hope of looking better. The best thing you can do for your appearance is stop smoking, which robs your skin of oxygen and Vitamin A, causing deep wrinkles, broken blood vessels and an unhealthy gray tint. Giving up the cigarettes will prevent further damage and can help you gain back a fresher, more youthful glow.

Get a lungful.

After just three smoke-free days you'll be amazed at how much stronger your lungs are. Whereas before you were huffing and puffing up that hill toward the picnic area, now you're walking at a healthy stride, breathing deeply and more easily. If you commit to giving up smoking for good, by next July your lungs will have completely regenerated, and you'll be taking that hill all the faster—and enjoying the pleasures of the season all the sooner.