Even if you’ve smoked for many years, you can reverse the harmful effects of smoking and experience health benefits from the first hours you stop smoking to the decades after you quit.
Smoking releases thousands of chemicals into your body. The result isn’t only damage to your lungs, but also your heart and many other body structures.
Below are some of the many health milestones you can experience by quitting smoking today.
In addition, fibers in the bronchial tubes that previously didn’t move well due to constant exposure to smoke will start to move again. This is beneficial for the lungs: These fibers help move irritants and bacteria out of the lungs, helping reduce the risk of infection.
Within eight hours, your carbon monoxide levels will return to a more normal level. Carbon monoxide is a chemical present in cigarette smoke that replaces oxygen particles in the blood, lowering the amount of oxygen your tissues receive.
When carbon monoxide goes away, your oxygen levels start to increase to more normal levels. This increased oxygen helps nourish tissues and blood vessels that were getting less oxygen while you were smoking.
By then, reduced constriction of veins and arteries and an increase in the oxygen levels that go to the heart help boost the functioning of your heart. This decreases your chance of getting a heart attack.
In addition, your lung capacity, or the ability of the lungs to fill up with air, increases about three days after quitting.
Remember, the chances of quitting smoking for good increase with every attempt. If you can make it to one week, you can make it for a lifetime.
Within two weeks of quitting smoking, you may start to notice you’re not only breathing easier. You’re also walking easier. This is thanks to improved circulation and oxygenation.
In just one short month, you can experience many health changes related to stopping smoking. One is feeling a sense of heightened overall energy.
You may also notice that many smoking-related symptoms have decreased, such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath with exercise.
In addition to these benefits, fibers in the lungs that help keep the lungs healthy are growing back. These fibers can help reduce excess mucus buildup and protect against bacterial infections.
Finally, those who make it for one month without smoking are 5 times more likely to quit for good.
Within three months after quitting, a woman can improve her fertility as well as reduce the risk that her baby will be born prematurely.
They may also notice they’re coughing up much less mucus and phlegm. This is because the airways are much less inflamed without constant exposure to cigarette smoke and the chemicals contained within cigarettes. As a result, physical activity like walking becomes easier.
In addition to these health benefits, you’ll have saved a dramatic amount of money. Smoking cigarettes is expensive. If you smoked a pack of cigarettes per day, you’d have saved thousands of dollars at the one-year mark.
In three years after quitting smoking, your chance of heart disease
Smoking not only limits oxygen flow to the heart. It also damages the lining of the arteries. Fatty tissue starts to build up, making it more likely that a person will experience a heart attack or stroke. Quitting smoking can help reverse these effects and promote a healthier heart in the years to come.
Five years after you stop smoking, your chance of stroke decreases to that of a nonsmoker. Your chance of getting mouth, throat, or voice box cancer also
In addition to decreasing the chance of lung cancer, your risk of developing smoking-related illnesses also goes down. This includes a reduced chance for cancers of the:
At the 15-year mark, your
With so many health benefits of quitting smoking, the time to quit is now. You can start by making a plan using resources from the
You can enlist your doctor, family, and friends to support you in your quest to live a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle. Be sure to celebrate each time milestone along the way — you’re worth it.