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What Are the Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Quitting tobacco is important for your health. For example, the tobacco in cigarettes contains over 4,000 chemicals, more than 100 of which are known toxins (poisons). But it's never too late to stop the damage tobacco does to your body. For example, look what happens when you put out your last cigarette:

Within minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.

Within hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will go down -- and the oxygen level will go up.

Within days, your ability to smell and taste will improve, and the yellow stains on your hands and teeth will fade.

Within several weeks to months, you'll start to breathe easier. Your smoker's cough will disappear, and you'll find that you're more clear-headed and energetic.

Within a year or two, your risk for heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and lung cancer will drop by up to 50%. Eventually, your risk for these diseases will be the same as if you had never smoked.

You don't have to be vain to appreciate these benefits of quitting:

fewer wrinkles
no more stained teeth and fingers
better breath
clothes and hair that no longer smell of tobacco
no need to leave gatherings or work to smoke outside
no more worrying that people are put off by the smell in your home or car

Quit Smoking -- The Benefits Are Huge For Older Adults

Shelley Emling - The Huffington Post

Good news for older people who smoke: If you quit smoking, you will reap the benefits in a fairly short period of time.

A new study by researchers at the German Cancer Research Center of 8,807 people between 50 and 74 found that a person slashes their risk of heart attack and stroke by more than 40 percent within the first five years after the last cigarette.

"We were able to show that the risk of smokers for cardiovascular diseases is more than twice that of non-smokers," Professor Hermann Brenner said in a press release. "However, former smokers are affected at almost the same low rate as people of the same age who never smoked.

"Moreover, smokers are affected at a significantly younger age than individuals who have never smoked or have stopped smoking," he added.

For example, a 60-year-old smoker has the same risk of heart attack as a 79-year-old non-smoker and the same risk of stroke as a 69-year-old non-smoker. The number of cigarettes smoked and the duration of the habit also have an impact on disease risk. The more cigarettes a smoker consumes per day over a prolonged period of time, the higher his or her risk climbs.

According to researchers, the study's results suggest that smoking cessation programs -- which have been designed largely with younger people in mind -- should be expanded to reach out to older people as well.

The study looked at people who had never suffered a heart attack or stroke, and then evaluated their physical condition for up to 10 years afterwards. In their evaluation, the scientists also considered the effects of other factors such as age, gender, alcohol consumption, education and physical exercise as well as blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol levels, body height and weight.

Another smoking-related report released by the German Cancer Research Center last year suggested that smoking was linked to increased mortality in older people and that stopping smoking was linked with reduced mortality at an older age.

For people in general, studies show there are all sorts of benefits to stopping smoking including an almost immediate drop in heart rate and blood pressure. There are also other rewards such as whiter teeth and better breath.


Five Surprising Benefits of Quitting Smoking

From your eyes to your bladder, kicking this habit could help more parts of your body than you might think.

By Julie Marks
Medically Reviewed by Sanjai Sinha, MD

You’ve probably heard that quitting smoking can improve the health of your heart and lungs. While these advantages are significant, research is showing that retiring your lighter could offer dramatic benefits to other organs in your body that you might not have considered.

“Smoking really can affect pretty much every organ in your body,” says Oliver “Rocky” Mollere, MD, a primary care physician and pediatrician at Ochsner Health Center in Marrero, Louisiana. “I tell my patients, if I were to pick one thing to improve your overall health, quitting smoking is the one thing. It just affects everything.”

With tobacco use cited as the largest preventable cause of death in the United States, it’s worth examining some unexpected effects of quitting.

Among the lesser known benefits of quitting are:

Clearer Sinuses:

In a study published in July 2017 in the journal Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, researchers found that a history of cigarette smoking was associated with more severe chronic sinusitis, a condition that causes nasal congestion, drainage, pressure, and other issues. The good news? Quitting smoking gradually improved symptoms over a period of about 10 years.

“We were actually able to provide evidence, for the first time, that if these patients stop smoking, their chronic sinusitis starts to approach that of nonsmokers,” says Ahmad R. Sedaghat, MD, PhD, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Harvard Medical School and sinus surgeon at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, who was coauthor of the study. “This is great news because now we have hard data that we can give patients that says your health is going to improve — your sinuses are going to get better.”

Lower Risk of Eye Disease:

“Your eyes have really concentrated amounts of blood vessels,” Dr. Mollere says. “If you damage the blood flow going to that area by smoking, you will damage the cells, and you can start to lose vision.” Smoking doubles your risk of having age-related macular degeneration. It also raises your chances of developing other eye problems, including uveitis, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy. Research has shown that after just one year of quitting smoking, a person’s risk of macular degeneration is reduced by 6.7 percent.

Lower Risk for Bladder Cancer:

You’ve most likely heard that smoking ups your risk of lung cancer, but it’s also responsible for half of all bladder cancer cases. “Who thinks about bladder cancer and smoking?” says Dr. Sedaghat. “It’s just not something most people have heard about.” Doctors believe that when a person smokes, harmful chemicals accumulate in the urine, which damages the lining of the bladder — the organ that stores urine — and can lead to cancer. Avoid all forms of tobacco to reduce your risk and improve the health of your bladder.

Fewer Wrinkles and Lower Odds of Developing Skin Cancer and Psoriasis:

No one wants wrinkles, but picking up a cigarette will give you them before your time. “It can really lead to early aging. The skin actually loses its elasticity due to cigarette smoking,” Mollere says. “And it’s a cumulative effect. The more you smoke, the worse your skin is going to look.”

Smoking also increases your risk of serious skin conditions, including skin cancer and psoriasis. In fact, it about doubles a person’s chances of developing psoriasis, according to the National Psoriasis Foundation. In a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, researchers found this risk nearly disappears 20 years after someone stops smoking.

Sexual function Smoking can alter how a man’s sexual organ works. “It’s directly linked to erectile dysfunction since it affects the blood vessels,” says Mollere. “Many of my male patients are surprised to hear this.” Sufficient blood flow to the penis is needed to get a firm erection, but chemicals from smoking can affect this process. Research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed men who quit smoking significantly improved their erectile dysfunction symptoms.


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Updated April 2019