If you are a smoker, you already know the better-known facts about your habit. But it bears reminding–smoking causes much damage to your body. In fact, it might trigger even more health problems than you might realize.
The goal of this article is not to shame any readers for their personal choices. Instead, we aim to give you the facts and data you need in the hope that the information inspires you to kick your nicotine habit to the curb–once and for all!
These Ten Things Happen When You Quit Smoking
To read how quitting smoking is good for your health, here is a link to the Surgeon General’s report on The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation. Here are a few health-related and lifestyle, and well-being-related things that happen when you quit smoking.
1. Sleep Better When You Quit Smoking
Nicotine is a stimulant, so if you smoke anywhere from one to three hours before your bedtime, your heart is a little faster than a resting rate would be for a non-smoker. When you remove this stimulant nicotine from your daily intake, you help yourself reach a calm physical state before bedtime.
2. You Smell Fresher When You Quit Smoking
Your skin, hair, fingernails, and clothes have all been absorbing the smell of cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke is not a pleasant smell to non-smokers, so you will have a more attractive scent to both yourself and others by quitting.
Pursing your lips into that smoker’s pucker repeatedly is an excellent way to wrinkle the skin around your lips and cause you to look older than you are. Although you can use wrinkle creams to repair the damage, you can stop adding to the injury by quitting smoking.
3. Better Senses of Taste, Smell
Food will taste better and less bland to you. Flavors that were too subtle for your dull palate to pick up will become more evident. You will feel like a gourmet restaurant critic describing the new sensations you discover. Of course, non-smokers knew this the whole time.
Your sense of smell will be less dull now too. The scent of cigarette smoke will be gone, masked part of the ordinary essences floating around your living environment. Still, you will also be able to pick up on subtle, hardly noticeable scents now that you have quit smoking.
4. Less Coughing and Better Lung Health
Breathing better, more profound, more full, and more relaxing breaths are one of the most immediate benefits of quitting smoking. Your lung capillaries were constricted before you quit smoking, and now they can receive more blood. When the veins fill, the lung lining can expand to full size to accommodate more air per breath.
According to the Surgeon General’s report on The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation, ‘The risk of dying from lung cancer is 22 times higher among male smokers and 12 times higher among female smokers.’ When you finally quit smoking, the risk decreases between 30-50% of what it would be if you continued smoking, but this is only after ten years.
But don’t let that daunting timeframe bother you. Quit now and start the countdown to less lung cancer risk starting today. An ancient Chinese proverb says ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.’
5. You Develop Your Self-control Muscle
Researchers studying self-control see habits like smoking as a failure of self-control. They compare self-control to the function of a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets.
Your choice to smoke and continue to smoke is a decision to self-medicate in response to stress. Start developing your toolkit to handle stress in other ways (meditating, reading, laughing, exercise, yoga, etc.), and you will feel more confident in your ability to exercise your self-control.
6. Quit Smoking for More Energy
A recent non-smoker reported feeling more energetic within eight days of quitting. Think how much more you could accomplish in your day with more energy.
7. Your Voice Changes (for the better!)
You lose that husky, throaty, deep phlegmy voice that smokers have.
8. You Get More Done When You Stop Smoking
Now that you have both hands free, you can be more productive. You also don’t have to sneak outside on a smoke break and stand several feet away from the building so that others don’t have to walk through your second-hand smoke. You can also act superior to other smokers or be compassionate to them since you’ve been in their shoes.
9. You Have More Time and Money for Other Things
One smoker who smoked about a pack per day calculated his monthly expense at around $500. It’s hard to be upset about having that much more income per month. This is one of our favorite things that happen when you quit smoking.
You no longer have to drive to the store for cigarettes or stop on your way home. You don’t have to find someone you can bum a smoke off of. So you gain back all of that time you would be spending smoking and greater productivity when you would have been multi-tasking while smoking.
10. You Quit Hanging out in Unsafe Places
Let’s face it, smokers who are sometimes without their crutch often feel compelled to hit up another smoker for a cigarette. The best place to find a smoker who can lend you a smoke is outside a convenience store or gas station. These places are not the safest of environments, and the folks you are hitting up for a small favor might not be the most upstanding people in the neighborhood.
Twenty Harmful Health Consequences of Smoking
Smoking seems cool, and it may calm your nerves, but it’s pretty dangerous to ingest the poisons in cigarettes. According to the CDC, there are over 7,000 chemicals in smokes, and seven of them are carcinogens that cause cancer. Here are some other shocking health consequences of smoking.
1. Smoking Can Cause Lung Diseases
One of the most notorious health risks from smoking is a lung disease, especially since your lungs inhale the toxic smoke. It usually leads to persistent cough, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. These and other lung issues can work together to cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. It can also lead to various cancers of the lungs that are often fatal.
2. Coronary Disease
Your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. If something like tobacco smoke affects your lungs, your heart will also be affected. A fact sheet published by the CDC states that smoking can cause plaque buildup, which blocks your arteries.
3. Dental Issues May Arise from Smoking
Burning tobacco produces heat, ash, and a lot of smoke. Like any other combustion, the smoke can cause buildup and staining issues. People who smoke often battle nicotine-stained teeth.
An article published by the CDC warns that long-term tobacco use can lead to severe gum disease. Germs and bacteria get trapped in your gums and cause an infection. If it goes untreated, you risk losing your teeth, and there can be bone loss in your jaws.
4. Premature Aging Skin
The next time you’re tempted to light one up, look in the mirror. This terrible habit wreaks havoc on your complexion. Exposure to the burning chemicals weakens your skin’s elasticity, giving it premature wrinkles and a leathery appearance.
5. Complications with Diabetes Type II
If you want to avoid the risks of developing diabetes Type II, kicking the nicotine habit is wise. An article published by the FDA explains that smokers have a thirty to forty percent greater chance of developing this condition. According to the report, nicotine can make your body more insulin resistant, causing imbalances in your blood glucose levels.
6. Smoking May Cause a Loss of Appetite
Many people who quit using tobacco notice that they gain a few pounds. When you smoke, it affects your ability to taste, so you often eat less. As soon as you quit, your tongue livens up, and you enjoy eating again.
7. Reduced Sense of Smell and Taste
Smokers often complain that they can’t appreciate scents and tastes anymore. Nicotine and other chemicals in burning tobacco affect taste buds, and the olfactory nerve controls smell. If you smoke, it’s one of the reasons you can’t smell the putrid smoky scent on you and in your house.
8. Cholesterol Issues
If you have problems regulating your cholesterol, consider tossing the tobacco. Its toxic chemicals raise your harmful LDL levels while reducing your good HDL levels. They also can increase your triglycerides, which is yet another health risk.
9. Smoking Can Impair Your Vision
Remember the classic love song about smoke getting in your eyes? Billowing smoke clouds from burning love may be sweet, but not when they’re from tobacco. Puffing on these toxic products can eventually lead to visual problems like cataracts and glaucoma.
10. Increase the Likelihood of Blood Clots
According to an article published by the American Heart Association, smokers have more risks of developing blood clots. The inhaled poisons get in your bloodstream and cause platelets to adhere to each other. These clots can be lethal if they strike your brain, heart, or lungs.
11. Infertility Issues
Think again before you light up a smoke after intimate moments, especially if you want children. The nicotine habit can lead to fertility problems in both men and women, and these issues can be short or long-term.
12. Pregnancy Issues and Increased Risks of Birth Defects
If you’re already pregnant or are considering becoming pregnant, think of your baby and don’t smoke. An article published by Oxford Journals warns that the toxins in tobacco can raise genetic disability risks significantly. The fetus is more likely to develop malformations and other serious prenatal conditions.
13. Anxiety and Depression
Have smokers told you that their nicotine habit relaxes their frayed nerves? One of the first things you notice when you quit is uncomfortable nicotine withdrawal. Being hooked on this toxin can eventually increase your anxiety, depression, and other mental conditions.
14. Smoking Causes Early Menopause for Some Women
When you feel the heat coming from your burning cigarette, think about experiencing hot flashes. Women who are addicted to nicotine might start menopause earlier than nonsmoking ones. Plus, you’re more likely to battle more hot flashes.
15. Immunity System Issues
People who are addicted to tobacco seem to have poorer health in general. According to an article published by the National Library of Medicine, cigarettes can suppress your immune system and make you more susceptible to disease. You’re also apt to experience more respiratory infections.
16. Higher Risks of Other Cancers
Countless cancers may be attributed to the carcinogens that smokers inhale. Among these are the cancer of the mouth, skin, lungs, and cervix. The American Cancer Society reveals that at least thirty percent of cancer deaths in America each year are from people who smoke.
17. Discolored and Brittle Fingernails
Your fingers always tell the secret of the many tale-tale signs of nicotine use. Smoke and nicotine leave unsightly yellow stains on your fingers and nails. It also makes your nails more brittle and unhealthier.
18. Increase Risk of Hypertension
Abusing tobacco products produces a negative effect on all your blood vessels. Not only does it cause plaque buildup, but it damages the vessel walls. The results can be poor circulation and an increased risk of high blood pressure.
19. Compromising the Health of Others with Secondhand Smoke
As you’re puffing on a cigarette, at least you have the dubious advantage of a filter. Those around you must inhale your smoke without a screen, which can be devastating to their health. Those who are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke are children, seniors, pregnant mothers, and those with compromised immune systems.
20. Negative Social Effects
When you light up every day, your nose usually becomes blinded to the disgusting smell. Nasty smoke permeates your hair, breath, body, clothes, and everything you own. It can be a big turnoff in a potential love relationship and keep family and friends away.
Final Thoughts on Breaking Your Smoking Habit
Addiction is a powerful condition that can affect your entire well-being. Smoking cessation is probably one of the best decisions for you and your loved ones. Life is too precious to allow it to go up in smoke.