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Immediate Benefits from Quitting Smoking

Anyone who smokes has probably had to deal with friends, family, or even strangers not wanting them to light up. You may have been asked to step outside, or may have had to wait to finish a cigarette before entering an office building or a restaurant. For convenience alone, ending your cigarette habit is a good thing.

As a smoker, you've probably also been lectured about the health risks to you and your family: lung cancer, breast cancer, blindness, emphysema, and asthma, not to mention the changes to your teeth and hair. Your doctor may have advised you to quit. You've likely been meaning to quit. But you're discouraged by the thought that you'll have to go through days or weeks of nicotine withdrawal during which there won't be any results.

Withdrawal symptoms may occur, but results won't have to wait. In fact, you'll see the benefits of quitting within the first half-hour of your last cigarette. Here's a breakdown of the changes you'll see, once you give up cigarettes:

Within the First Half Hour:

Twenty to thirty minutes after quitting, your blood pressure will decrease, and your pulse rate will drop, meaning that your heart won't be working as hard to pump blood. As well, the temperature of your hands and feet will increase.

Within the First Few Days:

        After eight smoke free hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop to normal levels, and the oxygen level in your blood will increase to normal.

        After a full day, your chance of having heart attack has already been reduced a bit.

        About 48 hours after your last cigarette, you'll notice an improvement in your ability to taste and smell, and any shortness of breath should be noticeably improved. As well, damaged nerve endings will begin re-growing.

Within the Next 4 Weeks to Nine Months:

During the first two thirds of your initial smoke-free year, you'll notice several improvements to your health, with many of them becoming evident just two to twelve weeks after you've quit. These improvements include:

        Increased circulation

        Improved lung function

        Improved endurance when walking

A bit later on in the same period, you'll also notice that shortness of breath has decreased even more, as have sinus congestion, fatigue, and chronic coughing.

Further Down the Road

By the end of your first year without smoking, your risk of heart disease will be decreased to half that of active smokers, and in another ten years the risks of lung, mouth, throat, bladder, and kidney cancers will have decreased as well. All of this is very good news, since POS, PPO, and HMO health insurance policies all weigh smoking as a serious health threat and charge higher rates for smokers.

If that seems like a long time, consider that after about fifteen years, you'll have the same risk of death or heart disease as a person who has never smoked, then go back and look at the beginning of this article, and note how many positive changes happen in just the first few days.

 

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