Health Benefits Of Quitting

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

A NSW Health Department fact sheet states that “The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. There are health benefits of quitting for all smokers, regardless of age, sex or length of time that they have been smoking. People who have already developed smoking-related health problems, like heart disease, can still benefit from quitting.”

There are many benefits to quitting and some of these even occur within hours of you smoking your last cigarette. The changes that occur once you have quit highlight the amazing recovery, rejuvenation and regeneration your body is capable of even after years of smoking. Another plus to quitting is that people who quit smoking after having a heart attack reduce their chances of having another heart attack by 50 per cent.

Ok, so what are some of these benefits and what is the time frame?

Within 20 minutes of Quitting cigarettes in 60 minutes your body begins a series of changes that continue for years. Your heart rate reduces. 12 hours from quitting the carbon monoxide level in your blood reduces dramatically. 2-12 weeks since quitting your heart attack risk begins to reduce, your circulation improves, your lung function improves and exercise becomes easier 1-9 months after quitting the coughing and shortness of breath decrease. 1 year on your risk of coronary heart disease is halved compared to a continuing smoker. 5 years later your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and oesophagus decreases and your risk of stroke is dramatically reduced. 10 years of being a non-smoker and your risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker and your risk of cancers of the bladder, kidney and pancreas also decreases. 15 years of being a non-smoker and your risk of coronary heart disease and risk of death fall to about the same as someone who has never smoked.

Ok, so you want more benefits?

If you quit cigarettes in 60 minutes before age 35, then your life expectancy is similar to someone who has never smoked.

If you quit cigarettes in 60 minutes before age 50, then your risk of dying in the next 15 years is reduced by half when compared to people who continue to smoke.

Best of all – quitting cigarettes in 60 minutes at any age doesn’t just increase life expectancy – it also improves quality of life!

As a non-smoker, you are also less likely to have:

  • macular degeneration
  • cataracts
  • brittle bones
  • wrinkles and look older faster
  • yellow teeth and bad breath.

By quitting cigarettes in 60 minutes you will reduce your chances of:

  • impotence
  • having difficulty getting pregnant
  • having premature births, babies with low birth weights, and miscarriage.

If you have children, your quitting cigarettes in 60 minutes can lower their risk of:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) – (cot death)
  • being smokers themselves
  • ear infections
  • allergies
  • asthma
  • bronchitis and other lung problems.

By quitting cigarettes in 60 minutes you will reduce your chance of having:

  • cancer of the lungs, throat, mouth, lips, gums, kidneys and bladder
  • heart disease and hardening of the arteries
  • a stroke
  • emphysema and other lung diseases
  • gangrene and other circulation problems.

 

References
1 US Department Of Health And Human Services 1990, Surgeon General Report: The Health Benefits of Smoking Cessation, Center for Health Promotion and Education Centers for Disease Control, Office on Smoking and Health, Rockville, Maryland 20857.
2 US Department of Health and Human Services 2004, The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2004.
3 http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/general/benefits_of_quitting.html
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