According to experts, quitting is the single most important step smokers can take to enhance the quality of their health and life. However, it is not easy to break the habit. Tobacco is one of the most addictive drugs on earth. It can easily hook a person in just a few days or weeks of constant use.
Once the smoker decides to give up cigarettes, he or she is bound to face a host of challenges. These include curbing the urge to smoke, fighting the symptoms of withdrawal, and keeping with healthy lifestyle changes. For those who have nicotine addiction, quitting becomes extra challenging because they are not just dealing with their emotional or mental desire to light up but also with the physical needs of their body.
But hard as it is, quitting smoking is one priceless gift smokers can offer themselves. Just hours after their last cigarette, smokers can already experience positive changes. They can expect to feel an improvement in their breathing and lung function. After several days or weeks, they can expect to see a big difference in their energy levels, mood, vitality, and overall health. In months and years, their risk of developing chronic illnesses should have been reduced significantly (at some points, even to the level of a non-smoker).
Here are is the step-by-step process the body goes through after a person quits smoking:
The first and the most challenging process is withdrawal. At this point, the body craves a lot for nicotine – the addictive substance in tobacco. Most smokers develop addiction or dependence on this chemical that without it, many functions are affected. This results to a variety of symptoms, such as headache, nausea, mood swing, digestive problems, and more.
According to the American Cancer Society, physical changes occur in as early as 20 minutes after a person quits smoking. After such short period of time, the heart rate and blood pressure drops. After 12 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in the body goes back to normal. In two or three weeks, the lung function and cardiovascular circulation improves. In less than a year, the ex-smoker’s lungs would have significantly recuperated, and he or she will experience less coughing and hacking. And if he manage not to smoke for over one year, his or her risk of developing coronary heart disease would have gone down to half of someone who doesn’t smoke.
After 10 years of not smoking, a person’s life expectancy would have greatly increased. Not only that. His or her risk of risk of developing different forms of cancer would have gone down as well.
So if you’re a smoker who’s thinking of kicking the habit, hope this information helps you ‘breathe easier’ as you struggle with the first few weeks and months of quitting, particularly in coping with the withdrawal period.