Quitting smoking can be a challenging step in one’s life but it can be done. While everyone has their own reason for wanting to quit, stopping this bad habit can greatly improve your health and help your body repair the damage that smoking has caused.
One of the huge reasons why some smokers may be hesitant to quit is they do not know what to expect during the process. Of course, you want to know what happens when you quit smoking and how you will be affected. You want to know how you will feel, how tough it will be and how the body will be affected. Here is what happens when you quit smoking.
What exactly happens when you quit smoking cigarettes?
The Second You Quit
You’ve had your last puff and it’s time to quit. But you’re wondering what happens when you quit smoking. Initially when you quit smoking there is a feeling of pride and a bit of excitement. You are taking a huge step to improve your health and extend your life. At this initial step of quitting, motivation is high and so is determination. You want nothing more than to quit smoking for good.
20 Minutes After You Quit
The benefits of quitting smoking begin within minutes of smoking your last cigarette. As early as 20 minutes after you quit, heart rate begins to return to normal levels as well as your blood pressure. At this stage in the timeline you will also begin to feel a bit better as the body makes these adjustments.
1 Hour After You Quit
One hour after you quit, your heart rate and blood pressure levels will have returned to normal. People often experience warm fingertips and toes as a result of the increase in temperature of your hands and feet. The hint of a craving may also begin to arise at this point.
2 Hours After You Quit
At the two hour mark nicotine withdrawal symptoms will usually begin. It is common to experience symptoms such as increased appetite, intense cravings, anxiety and frustration. When these cravings hit try to focus on something else, eat a healthy snack and stay focused on the goal and why you are quitting.
6 Hours After You Quit
Six hours after your last cigarette the oxygen levels in the blood start to return to normal. The nicotine levels in the blood also reduce as much as 93%. This reduction of nicotine in the bloodstream may also provide some relief from cravings.
12 Hours After You Quit
Within 12 hours of quitting, oxygen levels in the blood are normal and toxic carbon monoxide in the body is decreased until it reaches a normal level.
1 Day After You Quit
At this point in the process of quitting smoking it is common to experience an increase in anxiety as a result of withdrawal and the challenge of cravings are still present. On the positive side of things, the risk for heart attack is reduced. Lung function also increases.
2 Days After You Quit
One very interesting change that is often experienced within 48 hours of quitting smoking is an enhancement of smell and taste. These senses become normal again which is great. This is a result of the re-growth of damaged nerve endings. On the downside irritability and anger are often experienced which should be handled carefully.
3 Days After You Quit
Once you reach this point you are likely wondering what happens when you quit smoking for three days. At this point your system is completely free of nicotine. Although wonderful for your health withdrawal symptoms will peak. You may experience nausea, cramps, headaches and emotional symptoms previously mentioned.
Two Weeks After You Quit
Two weeks of being cigarette free is when life really begins to improve. Not only will you feel better and have fewer withdrawal symptoms but you will be able to breathe easier. You will also be able to exercise without becoming winded. Other benefits include increased circulation and improved teeth and gums.
One Month After You Quit
During this time withdrawal symptoms will continue to dissipate and your body will really start to repair itself. Lung function is restored, smokers cough decreases and breathing improves even further. Even cilia, organelles in the lungs that help remove mucus, begin to function again.
Three Months After You Quit
Sometimes, three months in, the thrill of successfully quitting smoking for so long begins to go away. You may experience the want to smoke again along with some cravings. Although withdrawal symptoms are almost gone, cravings can come out of nowhere sometimes. When this happens it is important to go over the reasons why you quit and remember that you body has not completed the healing process. Why throw away all the progress you made?
Six Months After You Quit
At this point in the process of quitting smoking, your body is healing even further and health will improve significantly. Improvement should certainly be apparent in terms of breathing and appearance. Unfortunately at six months odd cravings may still be a reality. In order to combat these cravings avoid your triggers and seek support if needed.
One Year After You Quit
Once you have gone an entire year without smoking it is time to celebrate. At this point you have overcome harsh withdrawal, battled your cravings, and saved your life. Your risk of heart disease is lowered by a whopping 50 percent and a substantial amount of damage to your body caused by smoking has been repaired.
Maintenance After You Quit Smoking
After you have experienced what happens when you quit smoking, the only thing left to do is remain cigarette free. If you made it this far, chances are you have discovered the behaviours that lead to smoking in addition to your triggers and how to handle your cravings. To maintain your progress, stay healthy and do not hesitate to get support.
Sabyasachi Rakshit is involved in healthcare market research since 2010. He loves to write about various healthcare topics such as herbal medicines, alternative health etc.