Taking the decision to quit smoking is a tough, but ultimately life changing one. It’s never easy to tackle a challenge like this; however, simply making the choice can be one of the most positive things you ever decide to do. Many people focus on the mental processes that take place when smoking finally ceases, talking about the fact that over time, quitting actually helps to reduce stress levels and factoring in the added monetary benefits of not continually having to pay for tobacco too.
Sometimes, however, we forget that within the body many positive physical changes take place too. If you’re thinking about taking the plunge and stopping, then you need to know how your body will change over time.
The physical effects of stopping smoking
After just a few hours: The levels of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream fall rapidly, and after two days it will have disappeared completely. The same goes for levels of nicotine, too.
After forty eight hours: Breathing will start to become much easier and less troublesome. You may find that early morning coughing starts to slowly subside.
After a week: You may start to notice that both sense of smell and taste are returning. Coupled with this is more improvement in breathing and also a feeling of being more energetic and less tired.
Four weeks onwards: Usually this is when the physical craving for cigarettes may subside. From here on in, physical symptoms such as the risk of having a blood clot anywhere in the body are starting to greatly reduce.
Up to three months: Lung function should have started to vastly improve. Early morning coughing or general breathing difficulties should be mostly gone or have completely disappeared.
Between one to three years: Now is the time in which the chances of having a heart attack or stroke because of smoking become greatly reduced by as much as fifty percent. There is also a significant decrease in the probability of contracting smoking related pneumonia or flu.
From hereon in, the body starts to recover to the condition of a non-smoker. Chances of having throat or lung cancer start to halve and after around five years, the chances of having a heart attack or stroke are the same as for a non-smoker. In women, there becomes less risk of developing osteoporosis, too.
The important thing to remember is the mantra “two steps forward and one step back” when you try to stop smoking, or indeed tackle anything stressful that may cause anxiety. If you do slip up and have the occasional cigarette it is not the end of the world. Just try not to beat yourself up and stop again as soon as you can. Whether you choose to quit smoking using patches, e-cigarettes or any other one of the many good smoking cessation aids that are on the market these days, it’s vital to remember that whilst on the whole, what you are doing is a very brave and positive thing, that blips and setbacks are common and may occur. Stopping smoking can help you gain control not just of your mental wellbeing but of your physical health too, on which you simply cannot put a price. Making the choice can give you a new lease of life.
Note: The post was written by a guest contributor Eve Pearce.