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Quitting Smoking: A Timeline to Better Health


Quitting Smoking: A Timeline to Better Health

Smokers, and their friends and family, know how difficult it is to kick the habit. It’s no secret the health risks that come from smoking have been directly linked to lung cancer and heart disease—it’s an addiction that kills.

Even within the first few moments of quitting smoking, it’s not just your habits that change—you’ll notice near-immediate physical changes. The effects of quitting last a lifetime, but do you know how quickly your body begins to recover when you do?

Remember that quitting happens one day at a time. Here’s what happens to your body up to the first year of kicking the smoking habit:

  • 20 Minutes After Quitting: Your heart rate will start to drop to a regular level.
  • In 2 Hours: Heart rate and blood pressure decrease to near-regular levels, improving blood flow to the arms, legs and feet.
  • In 12 Hours: Carbon monoxide, which can be toxic to your body at high levels, decreases and blood oxygen levels become normal.
  • In 24 Hours: In just one day, your risk for heart attack begins to drop: the heart attack rate for smokers is 70% higher than for nonsmokers.
  • In 48 Hours: Nerve endings begin to regenerate—senses of smell and taste are enhanced.
  • In 3 Days: Peak nicotine withdrawal symptom period. To fight the mental symptoms, try a reward system: treat yourself with the money you’ll have saved by not buying tobacco products.
  • In 2-3 Weeks: Because of the body’s ability to regenerate certain processes, your circulation and lung function will improve significantly. This means not feeling as winded and sick while exercising! For most smokers, withdrawal symptoms also diminish at this point.
  • In 1-9 Months: Inside your lungs, cilia—tiny, hair-like structures that push mucus out—will start to repair themselves and function properly again. With the cilia now able to do their job, your risk of infection is lowered. With properly functioning lungs, your coughing and shortness of breath may continue to decrease dramatically.
  • In 1 Year: The one-year mark is a big one! Your risk for heart disease is lowered by 50% compared to when you were still smoking.

While the benefits of quitting smoking are unbeatable, we know it’s not an easy journey. With CaroMont’s Quit Smart program, you don’t have to go it alone.

To learn more about Quit Smart or to sign up for December classes, call us at 704.671.7930.