The habit of smoking has never been healthy as it can lead to the development of serious chronic diseases. Smoking also raises your risk of aging and dying young. Needless to say, there are plenty of good reasons to quit smoking if you value your health.
A single cigarette is composed of over 5,000 chemicals that can poison your body, experts at the Cancer Research UK told The Independent. But here are some different ways your body heals if you choose to quit smoking for good.
Here Are 20 Ways Your Body Heals After You Quit Smoking
“You’re always better off if you quit smoking; it’s never too late.” – Loni Anderson
1. Your body’s oxygen level normalizes.
When you smoke, you inhale poisonous carbon monoxide that overtakes the level of oxygen in your bloodstream.
- Smokers who have a pack a day have three to six percent of carbon monoxide in their blood. The ideal level is less than one percent.
- This makes it harder for your body to distribute oxygen that is vital to the functions of your organs, especially the heart.
- When you quit smoking, your oxygen level normalizes within eight hours as your body slowly clears out the toxic level of carbon monoxide.
2. Your sense of smell and taste return to normal.
You will start to recover your normal sense of smell and taste within 48 hours after you’ve gone cold turkey. This happens because you are no longer ingesting poison from the nicotine. This addictive substance contained in tobacco impedes your senses as it is toxic to the blood vessels.
3. Your circulation starts improving.
Once you quit smoking, your blood circulation improves and properly reaches the vital organs, including the tips of your hands and feet. This positive effect greatly cuts your risks of a stroke because your blood vessels are now clearer and your blood pressure is lower. This improvement, however, may have a gradual effect and will depend on how long you’ve been smoking.
4. You may have some coughing fits.
There are smokers who will experience some coughing fits a few days after they quit the bad habit but this isn’t something to be worried about. It is the body’s way of healing itself as the coughing helps the lungs grow clearer. However, if you find the coughing uncomfortable, you can use air purifiers and engage in deep-breathing exercises to speed up the process of recovery for your lungs.
5. You may have sleep disturbances.
You also may have a difficult time sleeping within the first few days after you’ve quit smoking.
- As with the coughing fits, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Your body is simply withdrawing from the nicotine.
- Consider this your body’s way of adjusting to a normal sleeping pattern as an ex-smoker.
- You should likely only experience sleep disturbances for two weeks. From then on, you should be able to sleep more soundly once the nicotine is no longer in control of your body’s functions.
6. You’ll feel more energetic.
Two weeks after you’ve quit smoking, you’ll start having fewer episodes of fatigue and tiredness. Instead, you’ll feel more energetic to walk, run, or do other activities that encourage a good cardio workout as your body heals from the nicotine.
7. Your heart will finally get a break.
With the carbon monoxide clearing and oxygen leveling off, your heart will finally get a break from all those toxic chemicals. You, therefore, cut your risks of developing heart diseases and other cardiac issues. Do you know that it takes 15 years for a smoker’s heart to be truly free of the risks?
8. You’ll start breathing better.
Your lungs will bear the positive effects of cutting the smoking habit the most. It will start improving within a few weeks as the cilia – those hair-like airways in the lungs – will no longer be paralyzed. So, you’ll start breathing better. You may also be motivated to exercise more since you will have an easier time inhaling and exhaling when doing physical activities.
9. Your lungs will start to finally repair.
Nine months after you’ve quit smoking, you will begin to feel the effects of your lungs naturally healing. You’ll notice your smoker’s cough is gone and you won’t have shortness of breath anymore when you climb stairs.
10. Your immune system will improve.
Smokers are prone to develop a cough, cold, or fever because they have lowered immune systems. If they quit the habit, the chemicals start to diminish from their body. Additionally, their immune system will get a boost. Once this happens, their body will be able to fight off germs, bacteria, and viruses better.
11. Your breath will smell better.
According to a study in Journal of Natural Science Biological Medicine, bad breath or halitosis is prevalent among people who smoke. The cigarettes bring different kinds of bacteria to the mouth. Smoking also causes dryness that enables these bacteria to thrive. But if you quit smoking, you will slowly eliminate this social handicap as the saliva will begin to flow continuously and clean your mouth, as it should.
12. Your mouth and teeth will look better too.
You will definitely have more reasons to smile when you quit smoking because you will no longer have stained teeth.
- Did you know that those nicotine chemicals can turn your teeth yellow, brown, and black? No matter how you many times you brush your teeth, the stains will remain as long as you smoke?
- More than this, you’ll lessen your risks of developing periodontal diseases if you quit smoking.
- Your lips will also improve because you will not have mouth sores from sucking cigarettes anymore.
13. You’ll have better-looking skin
The chemicals from cigarettes easily deplete the skin of important components like collagen and elastin. Smokers usually have more skin dryness and wrinkles. If you quit smoking, you’ll restore your skin’s natural luster. With clearer blood vessels, your skin will properly absorb the nutrients it needs to prevent premature skin aging.
14. Your breast won’t sag.
Hard as it is to believe, your breasts will also reap positive benefits when you quit smoking. You’re more prone to breast sagging if you’re a smoker, since cigarette chemicals may cause the skin to lose elasticity. In addition, smoking has been tied to breast cancer, as per the BreastCancer.Org. So, you’ll improve your breasts’ appearance and health if you kick the habit for good.
15. Your fingers will get a natural manicure.
A few weeks after you quit smoking, you will be able to notice a line across your fingernails. This signals the growth of new and healthier nails to replace the stained, yellow ones. You’ll get a natural manicure when you quit smoking because your body is no longer filled with toxic chemicals.
16. Your hair will grow beautifully.
It’s no coincidence that smokers have unhealthy hair. In fact, a study in the journal Dermatology linked hair loss problems to this bad habit. But if you quit smoking, your hair will begin to grow fuller, thicker, and a lot more lustrous because it is finally getting enough nutrients that now freely circulate in the body.
17. You might have weight gain.
Unfortunately, weight gain happens for many people who have kicked the habit of smoking.
- This usually happens because there are no more chemicals that prevent the hunger pangs. Your blood sugar may also shift and cause those cravings.
- While this is normal, it’s important to still be careful about your diet.
- As you fight the addiction to nicotine, you must also learn to eat the right kinds of food to keep your body healthy.
18. Your risk for cancer drops.
Within two to five years after you’ve quit smoking, you reduce your risks for mouth and throat cancer by as much as 50 percent. You also significantly cut your bladder cancer risk. If you’re a woman, you’ll lessen your risk of cervical cancer.
19. You cut your risk of death from cancer.
Over 480,000 smokers die annually, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But within 10 years of quitting, you’ll reduce your risk of death from cancer that has been induced by cigarette smoking. In other words, you’ll prolong your life if you stop this bad habit.
20. Your heart will function as if you’ve never smoked before.
So, as you add more years to your life again if you quit smoking, your heart will greatly improve. After 15 years, the heart will return to the way it functioned earlier, as if you’ve never puffed a cigarette.
Final Thoughts On Ways Your Body Heals After You Quit Smoking
A smoker may average some 200 hits of toxic nicotine every day. This is one reason why this habit is so addictive. When you’ve puffed a few times, your brain craves more nicotine. Several studies have proven over the last few decades that this substance is indeed addictive. A withdrawal might be hard for some smokers because they become anxious and irritable, develop cravings, and have headaches.
- If you want to quit smoking, you have to understand that it will be very challenging. It might help to let other people know that you’re giving up the habit so you can gain their support.
- If you have a friend who smokes, you may have to avoid hanging out with them for a few weeks or ask them not to smoke when you’re around.
- You’ll have a more successful and positive result if you follow a step-by-step plan.
- You also need to prepare yourself and stock up on supplies like candies, carrot sticks, gum, and other items that you think will help you manage the withdrawal symptoms better.
- Get rid of everything that may trigger you to smoke, such as ashtrays, lighters, and any unopened packs of cigarettes you’ve been keeping in your house.
- It may also be helpful to clean your house and car of the cigarette smell to reduce the chance of cravings.
The first two weeks after you’ve stopped smoking for good are very critical. You should also try to keep yourself busy and distracted so that you won’t be prompted to light a cigarette.