No one ever said quitting was easy – especially when it comes to smoking. Any addictive habit can be difficult to overcome, but fortunately for the 42 million Americans addicted to tobacco, no one has to quit alone. Help is available in the form of educational materials, support groups, treatment centers, and smoking cessation products. With resources available, and the support of friends, family, and other smokers ready to quit, the only decision left to be made is when to get started on the path to wellness.
According to the American Cancer Society, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Quitting smoking is an important step toward improving your overall health and reducing your risk of developing cancer.
Did you know that when you quit smoking your health immediately begins to improve? In fact:
- 20 minutes after you quit your heart rate will start to drop back to normal levels.
- Two hours after you quit your heart rate and blood pressure will have decreased to close to normal levels, and your peripheral circulation may improve.
- 12 hours after you quit levels of carbon monoxide in your system will decrease to lower levels while blood oxygen levels increase to normal levels.
- 24 hours after you quit your risk for sustaining a heart attack will begin to decrease.
- 48 hours after you quit your nerve endings will start to regenerate, improving your senses for taste and smell.
- Three days after you quit your body will be nicotine-free.
- Two to three weeks after you quit your physical abilities will improve, allowing you to exercise and perform physical tasks with more comfort and ease. In addition, you will experience improved circulation and lung function, and any withdrawal symptoms will have dissipated.
- One to nine months after you quit your lungs will begin to repair themselves and function properly, which reduces your risk for infection. With improved lung function, you will experience less coughing and shortness of breath.
- One year after you quit your risk for heart disease will be lowered by 50 percent compared to when you were still smoking.
- Five to 15 years after you quit your risk of having a stroke will be the same as the risk for someone who never lit up.
- 10 years after you quit your risk of dying from lung cancer will drop to half that of a smoker’s risk. In addition, your risk of throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas cancer will also have decreased.
- 15 years after you quit your risk of heart disease will improve to the same level as someone who does not smoke, and you will no longer be considered to have an above average risk for heart attack, coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, angina, infections of the heart, or conditions that affect your heart’s beating rhythms.
As you gear up for your New Year’s resolutions, why not resolve to quit smoking for good? Join forces with the millions of Americans who have already quit, or who have committed to quitting tobacco, and start realizing the health benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle immediately.