Quitting Smoking – Physical Side Effects When You Stop Smoking


Quitting smoking is no easy task. However, by focusing on the effects of quitting smoking instead of the associated difficulties, it may be possible to increase your chance of success so you can move onto a healthier, happier life.

What Side Effects Will I Face?

The side effects of quitting can vary with most people suffering at least some form of withdrawal once the nicotine starts to leave their system.

  • This can be exhibited through general irritability, emotional mood swings, an inability to concentrate, and small aches and pains.
  • Some people suffer from temporary sleep difficulties and others find that in place of smoking, their appetite increases significantly, causing eventual weight gain.
  • The side effects of quitting smoking are temporary, and significantly subside over the first 10 days.

What Physical Effects Can I Expect?

The decision to change your life can lead to almost immediate beneficial physical effects of quitting smoking.

  • Once you quit, within 20 minutes your body starts to respond by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate.
  • A few hours later, your oxygen levels increase to a normal state, giving you heightened energy. This increased amount of oxygen can help with signs of aging as well – your skin will be more radiant and your hair will be less brittle.
  • Within a few short weeks you will find that your breathing becomes less labored, allowing you to be more physically active.

What Long Term Effects Can I Expect?

Although the short term physical aspects of stopping smoking are very enticing, it is the long term effects that are the most appealing.

  • On your first year anniversary of being smoke-free, your chance of developing coronary heart disease has decreased to half that of a smoker.
  • When you have been smoke free for 5 years, your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack is also about half of the risk of a smoker, and will continue to drop until your tenth year, when your risk is equal to that of a person who has never smoked.
  • Also in your tenth year of being a non-smoker, your risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer has decreased significantly.

What Else Happens When After You Quit?

In addition to the health effects of quitting smoking, there are other, less obvious benefits that can occur once you have decided to butt out.

  • You will no longer carry the smell of cigarettes around – your breath won’t smell badly, your hair will smell fresh, and your clothes will remain free of the signature scent.
  • You will no longer have to excuse yourself from your non-smoking friends to leave for a cigarette. For these reasons, alone, you may find that your social life improves.
  • Your confidence may be boosted by the physical changes you will see, such as whitened teeth, shinier hair and vibrant skin.

There are many beneficial effects of kicking the habit. One that is rarely considered is the idea that once you have quit smoking, you will no longer be a slave to your addiction. Having complete control of your life is an invaluable advantage of living a smoke-free existence.



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