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What Happens When You Quit Smoking

November 15, 2018

great-american-smokeoutIf you're wondering what happens when you quit smoking, you'll be excited to hear that the health benefits are almost immediate.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 36 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. Although cigarette use is dropping, the use of other forms of tobacco, i.e. cigars and pipes, continues to rise. The use of electronic cigarettes is also increasing.

Let’s take a look out some of the health benefits you'll experience and hopefully use as motivation to quit.

Short-Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking

On top of saving a little money today, you will experience some immediate health benefits by quitting smoking.

The health benefits include:

  • Your heart rate and blood pressure decrease 20 minutes after you quit smoking.
  • Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • After just two weeks, your circulation improves and lung function increases.

So, you can see, the benefits of quitting smoking are almost immediate.

Long-Term Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Within a few months your coughing and shortness of breath will begin to decrease.

Twelve months after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of someone who still smokes. Your heart attack risk also drops dramatically.

Five years after quitting you decrease by 50 percent your risk for other cancers, including:

      • Mouth
      • Throat
      • Esophagus
      • Bladder

After 10 years of smoke-free living, you cut your risk of dying from lung cancer in half; and 15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

The Great American Smokeout 

The Great American Smokeout is an annual event that can be an important step to kicking the habit. It’s the third Thursday in November and a great day to implement your "quit plan."

The Great American Smokeout started in the 1970’s in Randolph, Massachusetts. People there were asked to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on a pack to a high school scholarship fund. The American Cancer Society took it nationwide in 1977. It’s been fueling new laws and saving lives ever since.

If you plan to quit today you will immediately begin living a healthier life.

If you’d like to quit but don’t know where to start, talk to your doctor. The American Cancer Society also has resources available if you get the urge to smoke again.

Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. But knowing the facts about the number one killer among men and women can help decrease your risk. Our guide “Heart Disease Facts that Could Change Your Life” can help. In it you’ll learn the other risk factors that should matter most to you. 

Heart Disease Facts