The Great American Smokeout is November 18. If you know you should stop smoking, but aren’t sure you can do it alone, this is your opportunity to give it a try. People from all across the country will be doing the same. In some respects the first day is the hardest, so tell your family and friends that you are going to participate in the Smokeout and ask them to support you.
Most of the negative health effects of smoking are well-known so instead of listing all of the reasons that smoking is bad for you, this is a different perspective. When you DO stop smoking, here is a list of all of the good things that will happen to you, and when the bad – the cravings, cough, etc. – should stop.
- In just 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate will return to normal.
- In 12 hours, your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and the carbon monoxide levels in your body will have dropped to normal.
- In 24 hours, your anxieties and aggression peak in intensity and within two weeks they should return to near pre-cessation levels.
- In just 48 hours, damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal.
- In just 72 hours, your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free.
- In 5-8 days, the “average” ex-smoker (one pack a day) will probably have 3 cravings a day, each lasting up to 3 minutes
- In 10 days, the “average” ex-smoker will have less than two cravings a day, each lasting less than 3 minutes.
- In 10 days to 2 weeks, recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.
- In 2-4 weeks, cessation-related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness and depression have ended.
- In just 2 weeks to 3 months, your heart attack risk has started to drop and your lung function is beginning to improve.
- In 3 weeks to 3 months, your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared.
- In 1-9 months, any smoking-related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath has decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs which help them to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean, and reduce infections. Your body’s overall energy has increased.
- In 1 year, your excess risk of coronary heart disease has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.
- In 5-15 years, your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.
- In 10-15 years, your risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker. Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus has decreased.
- In 13 years, your risk of smoking-induced tooth loss has declined to that of someone who never smoked.
- In 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is that of someone who has never smoked.
And also by quitting smoking, you regain control of your life, you save a whole lot of money, and you become a better example to your family, co-workers, and community. Your smile won’t be yellow, and your body and your clothes will no longer smell like cigarettes.
Whether you read this for yourself or for a loved one, write back and let me know how it goes on November 18!