Why don’t you quit smoking? No, I don’t mean, “plan on quitting smoking” or “cutting down”, or even just having one last cigarette. I mean, right now, this very instant, decide never to have another cigarette.
Believe it or not, some studies indicate that the best way to quit might be to just do it. Of course, one of the things that makes that hard is that you really like smoking. (I know, you’re favourite bit is the bit where you smoke). You know that there are long term benefits to giving up the fags, but you want the cigarette now. If you’re going to give that up, you want to see instant benefits. So here they are.
20 Minutes After Your Final Cigarette
This is all it takes before the health benefits begin to show. Particularly, you blood pressure, which that cigarette wasn’t helping at all, drops back down to its usual levels. High blood pressure is behind a whole host of other health problems, so keeping it down is generally considered a good thing.
8 Hours After Your Final Cigarette
Eight hours, that’s the equivalent of a good night’s sleep (and let’s face it, even the most dedicate chain smokers have yet managed to smoke while they’re unconscious). That’s also the amount of time it takes for the carbon monoxide in your blood to drop by half, and the oxygen levels in your blood will return to normal.
If you’re keeping count, that’s lower blood pressure with more oxygen and less toxic gas in it. After eight hours of not smoking you’re already a winner.
2 Days After Your Final Cigarette
Skipping forward in time a bit, by now all the nicotine will finally be out of your system. More than that, by now the odds of you having a heart attack will have decreased.
This is also the point where you’ll actually begin to notice positive changes. Now might be a good time for a nice meal or a bit of baking – your senses of taste and smell will have noticeably improved since you quit.
3 Days After Your Final Cigarette
Now the noticeable improvements will be starting to stack up. By this point your bronchial tubes will have relaxed. You will also find that you’ve got more energy than you had while you were smoking. Enjoy!
2 Weeks After Your Final Cigarette
By now you should be feeling pretty good just from your sense of achievement. Two weeks shows you’re well on the way to kicking the addiction for good. In the mean time your circulation has increased, and that’s going to keep improving for the next 10 weeks.
3 to 9 Months After Your Final Cigarette
Remember that really nasty cough that made you consider quitting in the first place? This is when you and it can finally bid each other a fond fair well. All those months without any tobacco have given your lungs some time to recover, and their capacity will have improved by 10% since that last smoke. As a result the coughing, wheeze and breathing problems that are an unsurprising side effect of filling your lungs with smoke will simply fade away.
1 Year After Your Final Cigarette
Happy anniversary! And you’ve got plenty to celebrate. Such as the fact that the chance you having a heart attack has dropped by 50% in the last 12 months.
5 Years After Your Final Cigarette
By now you can probably count yourself as “someone who used to smoke” rather than “someone trying to quit”. If you measure it in terms of your odds of having a stroke, then yes, the odds of you having a stroke are no more than those of your identical twin who lives the exact same lifestyle as you apart from the smoking. In their face!
10 Years After Your Final Cigarette
A decade after that fateful day when you read a list article on the internet and decided not to smoke anymore, the risk of you getting lung cancer dropped to the same as that of your eerily similar non-smoking twin.
15 Years After Your Final Cigarette
Remember all those years ago when you used to smoke? Seems crazy now doesn’t it? Well, all that not smoking has certainly been worth it. Now you’re no more likely to have a heart attack than your weirdly-competitive-over-health-issues twin.
200 Years After Your Final Cigarette
After 200 years you’ll still be dead. Not smoking really won’t have any effect on that.
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Sam Wright is a freelance writer who works with www.smokshop.com and covers health and wellness issues.