Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in this country. It increases your risk for heart disease, lung diseases (like emphysema), and cancer. It also increases risk for bone fractures, dental diseases, sexual problems, eye diseases and peptic ulcers. And if you smoke, illnesses may last longer, and you are more likely to be absent from work than non-smokers.
The good news is that your decision to quit is already having a dramatic impact on your future health. You are no longer exposing yourself to the over 4,000 chemicals present in cigarette smoke. Amazingly, your body begins to heal itself within days after you quit, and this process of reclaiming your health continues as long as you stay smoke free. Here are a few examples:
After 20 minutes
Your blood pressure and pulse will return to normal. Your hands and feet will be warmer as their temperature increases to more normal levels.
After 8 hours
The carbon monoxide level in your blood decreases to normal, and the oxygen level increases to normal.
After 2 days
Your nerve endings begin to regrow, and your senses of taste and smell begin to return.
After 1-9 months
You'll notice less coughing, sinus congestion, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Your lungs are recovering their ability to handle mucus, clean themselves and reduce infection. Your circulation and lung function have improved.
After 1 year
Your risk of heart disease is cut in half.
After 5-15 years
Your risks for cancers of the lung, mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, bladder, and cervix all decrease substantially. Your risk of stroke and heart disease becomes similar to someone who has never smoked.
You didn't report having medical conditions affected by smoking. But you say that living a longer, healthier life is a very important reason for quitting. That's great! Have you noticed some of the more immediate benefits to living smoke free listed above? You’ve come a long way! Staying smoke free is one of the most important tasks you will accomplish in your life.