If you are a smoker, quitting can have a huge and immediate impact on your health. In addition, quitting you can:
- Save money (the average cost for a pack a day smoker is about $2,200 per year).
- Save time (think of all the smoke breaks you now take and could put that time towards work or family).
- Enjoy food more thanks to your sense of smell and taste improving.
The health benefits of quitting smoking are immediate and begin a series of changes that go on for years.
- 20 minutes after quitting your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
- 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
- 1 to 9 months after quitting coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.
- 1 year after quitting the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
- 5 years after quitting risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
- 10 years after quitting the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
- 15 years after quitting the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
Quitting smoking also lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.
Tips to help you quit:
- Stay positive. When you wake up, promise yourself that you won’t smoke a cigarette that day.
- Picture success. Plan ahead and think of how you’ll deal with stressful situations without lighting up.
- Take a breather. Relaxation exercises help relieve urges to smoke. Remember, these urges to smoke will get better over time.
- Work out. Exercises such as swimming, running and racket sports help relieve tension and reduce your urge to smoke.