What happens when you quit smoking
We’re all pretty clued up on the benefits of quitting nicotine; from a better overall state of mind, to serious health improvements - it’s safe to say there are heaps of benefits to kicking the habit.
Whilst smoking is one of the most damaging habits out there, the effects aren’t irreversible. Your body gradually rewards you throughout your quitting smoking journey, with health improvements kicking in as soon as 24 hours after your last nicotine encounter. Thanks to your body’s natural ability to heal itself, quitting nicotine is beneficial, even if you have been a smoker for a long time.
The effects of smoking on your body
There is no level of safe exposure to nicotine and the added chemicals that come with it; not only is nicotine more addictive than some of the worlds’ most renowned hard drugs, but the habit of smoking itself is extremely detrimental to your overall health. From cancer to diabetes and even stroke, there are a multitude of wellbeing issues associated with the health-wrecking habit.
Every year, more that 480,000 people die from smoking in the US alone, and statistics reveal that at least one in fifteen smokers end up suffering from lung cancer because of the habit. Additionally, it’s been proven that smoking is linked to approximately 80% of lung cancer deaths. Whilst the statistics around smoking indicate how detrimental to the body the habit is, the extremely addictive nature of nicotine makes it hard for most smokers to kick the habit without additional help.
Protecting your loved ones
If you’re a smoker, the habit has pretty monumental effects on those around you too. In fact, it’s been proven that being exposed to secondhand smoke can also lead to lung cancer as it contains over 7000 chemicals that cause numerous health problems. In fact, there have been 2.5 million deaths linked to secondhand smoke exposure since the 60’s alone. In fact, it’s been proven that people exposed to secondhand smoke face the same dangers as smokers, especially over a long period of time. Similarly to smoking, second-hand smoking has immediate effects on the body - with arteries becoming less flexible and blood starting to cloth just five minutes after exposure.
Quitting smoking - a timeline
Whilst smoking is one of the most health-wrecking habits out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that the damage is definitely reversible. Your body has stellar abilities to recover, and kicks off this process minutes after your last puff of nicotine. In fact, the benefits of being a quitter start making an appearance as soon as 24 hours into your nicotine-free journey. Here’s a quitting timeline of how your body heals itself when you decide to kick the habit:
After 24 hours
Your body will immediately reward you, especially if you are a heavy smoker. After just eight hours of being smoke-free, the constriction of blood vessels will start to stop, and oxygen levels in your body will start to normalise.
72 hours in
It’s a known fact that smoking messes with your taste + smell receptors big time. After just three days of being nicotine-free, the damaged cells will start to self-repair, meaning you will already be regaining your senses.
After three months
During the first three months of your quitting journey, your lung function will improve, resulting in a bunch of health and wellbeing shifts: from feeling less fatigued and not experiencing shortness of breath as often, to mood improvements - ninety days nicotine-free is a major achievement!
Nine months into quitting
At this stage of your quitting journey, your lungs are making serious progress, with an improved ability to clear themselves and heal. At this stage, you’ll feel considerably more energised on a daily basis.
One year in
A year without nicotine is a mega-milestone in anyone’s quitting journey: at this stage, your risk of heart attack and stroke drops by half, and you’ll experience nicotine cravings a lot less. You’ll also experience less restlessness, and an overall better mood and mental health.
The Overall benefits of quitting
Needless to say, the benefits of quitting smoking go beyond the obvious health improvements. From your health, to your overall mood and even your sex life - here’s what to expect when going nicotine-free.
Overall health improves
With the abundance of conditions associated with smoking, the risk of developing those diseases declines as you get further into that nicotine-free life. From lung cancer to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), to the risk of heart disease, stroke and asthma - the longer you’ve been a quitter for, the less likely you’ll be to suffer from them.
When trying to motivate themselves to go nicotine-free, many smokers are resorting to looking up pictures of lungs after quitting smoking. And, rightly so - the improvements are meteoric. Your lungs are self-cleaning, which means they have the capability to slowly get rid of all the toxins from cigarette smoke. Whilst they kick-start the process of eliminating the nasties right after your last cigarette, going nicotine-free for good will give them the ability to resort to their initial stage after a set period of time. The speed at which they regenerate depends on how long you’ve been a smoker for, as well as how much damage is present - with underlying health conditions (such as respiratory problems) impacting this process.
Here are some natural ways to help clean your lungs quicker:
Keeping active is known to help improve and sustain lung function. You don’t have to hit the gym (unless, of course, you want to) - even going for a walk outside to get some fresh air has heaps of benefits.
2: Watch what you drink
Only Monday to Friday. Jk. But, it is proven that drinking warm liquids + keeping topped up green tea (renowned for its anti-inflammatory benefits) will keep the mucus in your lungs thin, which means you’ll be able to get rid of it quicker.
3: Avoid pollution
From second-hand smoke (you know all about that now), to dust and mould - there are many external aggressors that can wreak havoc on your lungs.
4: Your mental health improves
Amongst many other things, smoking is known to heavily affect mental health. From the constant cycle of nicotine cravings and irritability, to messing with your overall state of wellbeing - the habit is certainly not easy on your brain. Once you get past those withdrawal moments everyone encounters during their quitting journey, you will experience a better state of mind overall.
With smoking increasing carbon monoxide levels in the body and damaging blood circulation, the habit can heavily impact the quality of your sex life. Once you quit, not only will you experience increased sex drive, but you’ll also be less likely to have fertility issues. Your dating life is also bound to get better, as studies have shown that people are generally inclined to date non-smokers.
The journey to a nicotine-free life is known to be rather troublesome due to the addictive nature of the substance. But, with more and more people looking to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, the smoking cessation market is now bigger than ever. From nicotine patches, to gum and many options for smoking replacement therapy (including hypnosis) and quit smoking apps - there is plenty of support, expertly tailored to fit our needs and busy lifestyles. That being said, here are some of the best ways to kick the habit:
1: Quitting cold turkey
To be able to do this, you’ll need heaps of motivation. But, with a good quitting timeline, plenty of motivational content and strong determination, the journey can be bearable! Always remember your why, as well as getting yourself clued up on all the benefits a nicotine-free life brings.
2: Check out the smoking cessation aisles
Smoking cessation is an ever-growing market, with a multitude of brands bringing out options to help those on their quitting journey. If you need expert advice, make sure to consult a specialist so you can find the option that works best for you!
3: Try using aromatherapy
The practice of aromatherapy has been proven to aid the journey to a nicotine-free life. The use of sense-soothing essential oils can help calm your nerves during difficult times, with the fragrant aromas having stellar capabilities to relieve stress.
4: Try a quitting app
Quit smoking apps are a great way to keep yourself motivated and track your progress. From helping you add up the amount of money you can save, to giving you elaborate updates on health benefits and keeping things in check with quitting timelines.