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What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking

DrSugar: So Many Reasons to Quit Smoking

DrSugar is in the house! This week she's schooling us on the benefits of giving up the smokes.

OK readers, today we are going to discuss cigarette smoking and the short and long-term benefits of quitting. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed the placement of graphic images on cigarette packaging in hopes to deter people from smoking. Many of the those who commented on the FitSugar article regarding this recent news story seem to think that the graphic images will most likely not deter people from smoking. However, the health risks associated with cigarette smoking are serious and can be life-shortening and life-threatening. If one does decide to quit smoking, there are many benefits for both the short and long-term. To learn more about the benefits of quitting smoking, keep reading.

The American Cancer Society reports that the answer to the question "Why quit now?" is because no matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier. People who quit smoking have a better quality of life, fewer illnesses like the flu and cold, and lower rates of bronchitis and pneumonia. They also report that in the United States alone, smoking is responsible for nearly 1 in 5 deaths. In addition to cancers of all kinds (yes, more than just lung cancer), smoking can cause lung diseases like emphysema, heart disease such as heart attacks, strokes, and blood vessel diseases, blindness, premature aging, increased risk of miscarriage, and low birth weight babies.

So, what are the benefits over time after one quits smoking? The American Cancer Society has a great timeline on their website covering short-term to long-term benefits. In the short-term, 20 minutes after quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure drop. Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal (yes, carbon monoxide in your blood!). Two to three weeks after quitting, your circulation improves, and the function of your lungs improves and increases.


Moving to more long-term benefits, one to nine months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease and the cilia (the structures that help move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function, which helps reduce the risk of infection and keeps the lungs cleaner. One year after quitting, the extra risk of developing coronary heart disease is one-half of that of a smoker’s. Five to 15 years after quitting, the risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s. Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half of that of someone who continues smoking. The risk of cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, cervix, bladder, and pancreas decreases, too, after 10 years of quitting. Finally, 15 years after quitting, the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker’s. Hopefully this information will inspire people to quit smoking, so that the quality of their life and their health will improve!

Have a question for DrSugar? You can send it to me via private message here, and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

Join The Conversation
HollyJRockNRoll HollyJRockNRoll 6 years
This topic is played out. Why don't we have articles about the harms of meat eating, eating other animal products, alcohol, etc etc. Obviously, people who smoke are smoking for reasons they feel are greater than the risks. No one on the planet things this is a good thing to do, but its an addiction. People will get clean when they are ready.
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