Health Benefits when you Stop Smoking - A Guide to Stop Smoking

There are many advantages to stopping smoking not least of that of your health. It doesn’t matter when you stop as you will reduce many of the risks of smoking as well as adding years to your life.

It is the case that the younger you are when you stop smoking the greater the benefits but you will still feel some benefit even if you don’t stop until your fifties.

Smoking reduces your life expectancy by as much as 10 years; but if you stop smoking by the age of 35 then you stand a good chance of living as long as someone who has never smoked.

So, the message here is to stop smoking – irrespective of whether you have smoked since you were a teenager or have only been smoking for a few years.

And when you do the health benefits will start almost immediately. In fact, you will notice a difference within 48 hours of having your last cigarette so it really is as quick as all that.

Not convinced? Well, here is a breakdown of those health benefits which increase over time:

  • Within 20 minutes of stopping, your blood pressure and heart rate/pulse return to their normal levels.
  • After 8 hours: your oxygen levels return to their normal level: nicotine and carbon monoxide levels are halved.
  • After 24 hours: your lungs clear out most of the tar and eliminate carbon monoxide.
  • After 48 hours: nicotine has been completely eliminated from your body. And your sense of taste and smell is vastly improved.
  • After 72 hours: your breathing is much improved (less breathlessness), bronchial tubes widen (smoking narrows these tubes which impairs normal breathing) and your energy levels rise.
  • After 1 month: your skin becomes smoother and clearer, and regains its natural tone and colour. Your circulation improves and your fitness levels rise.
  • After 9 months: the health benefits are much more noticeable. Your heart and lungs are functioning as normal, breathing is improved, skin and hair are healthier looking, and circulation functions as normal. Plus your energy levels are high which means that you feel like a new person.

If you were suffering from any chest complaints caused by smoking then these will have disappeared.

  • After a year: your risk of a heart attack is halved.
  • After 10 years: your risk of lung cancer is halved.
  • After 15 years: your risk of developing heart disease or cancer is the same as for someone who has never smoked.

If you stop smoking before you develop a serious condition, such as coronary heart disease or COPD then the effects can be reversed. And your life expectancy will increase.

This is only possible if you quit before any of these develop. But if they already have then you will still benefit from stopping smoking as this reduces the risk of any further damage. For example, if you suffered a heart attack, as a result of smoking then giving up will halve the risk of a second attack.

Basically, it is never too late to stop smoking.

As well as the benefits to your health; stopping smoking also means that you will be better off financially, will be able to smell or taste your food/drink, will have fresh breath, not smell like an old ashtray and most importantly, will live longer!

As well as deciding upon a stop smoking date and keeping a diary, what else can you do? You have the choice of doing it on your own or opting for professional help via your GP and the NHS.

And even better, most of this help is FREE!

Find out more about these in our NHS Stop Smoking Services section.

Stopping smoking - Guide to Stop Smoking Index:

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