Friday, January 24, 2014

Advantages Of Giving up Cigarettes

Cigarettes are one of the world's most destructive forces, killing thousands annually in the United States alone through associated diseases. While smoking has no health benefits, quitting smoking has a multitude of benefits, spanning from health to financial and beginning the moment you smoke your last cigarette.

The First 48 Hours

Within 20 minutes after smoking a cigarette, a person's blood pressure starts to normalize from their smoking level. After just 12 hours of not smoking, the blood-oxygen level lowered by the chemical-laden smoke returns to normal, and the previously heightened carbon-monoxide levels subside. Only 48 hours after ceasing smoking, the nerve endings that the smoke damaged start to heal and grow anew. Dulled senses of taste and smell also begin to return at this time.

The First Two Weeks

Within the first two weeks of quitting cigarettes, many changes are already occurring in the body. Breathing becomes easier and lung capacity begins to increase. A person will test negatively for the presence of nicotine by the third full day of not smoking, and toward the end of the first two weeks, the teeth and gums begin to return to full health as blood circulation in the mouth stabilizes.

Two Weeks to Three Months

Some long-range changes to the body start occurring during this time period. Brain receptors begin to function at the same rate as those in people who are smoke-free within three weeks of cessation.During this period, the risk of heart attack begins to decline. Lung functioning continues to improve, and circulation begins to recover in earnest. The chronic "smoker's cough" should also start to disappear during this period.

The First Year

The cilia that line the inside of the lungs have regrown by this time, cutting down on respiratory infections. If a person was previously experiencing shortness of breath due to smoking, this should also have subsided by this time. While not as good as that of a non-smoker, a recovering smoker's risk of coronary disease is cut in half by the end of the first year.

The Next 15 Years

In the years after cessation, the benefits of quitting cigarettes take the shape of true long-term recovery. Within five years of ceasing smoking, recovering smokers are at no higher risk for stroke than people who do not smoke. By 10 years, the risk of developing lung cancer is cut in half, and the risk of all other smoking-related cancers is decreased. In year 15, the risk of heart disease in someone who has successfully quit smoking is the same as that of a non-smoker.

Other Benefits

Many other benefits of quitting cigarettes are not directly related to physical heath. Being able to quit means that former smokers no longer have to plan their lives around how and when they will be able to have their next cigarettes. They no longer have to stand outside in the cold of winter to get a quick smoke break in at work, people's first impression of them is not always the overwhelming smell of smoke that accompanies them throughout the day, and they no longer have to explain why they smoke when they know smoking is bad to their young children. Cigarettes are also costly, and those who are able successfully to quit are able to put their savings toward vacations, exercise equipment, televisions and other desired items to reward themselves for having the strength to kick the addiction.

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