What Happens When You Quit Smoking? Immediate Benefits and Side Effects


Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make to improve your overall health and well-being, however, you may wonder what happens when you quit smoking. Although it can be hard, the benefits are extensive and well worth the effort and knowing what to expect can make the process easier. Read on to learn what happens when you quit smoking.

Side Effects

What happens when you quit smoking initially depends on the method you use. The nicotine found in cigarettes is highly addictive and you will most likely experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you quit. If you quit cold- turkey, the side effects of quitting can be more intense than if you use the assistance of smoking cessation drugs. Withdrawal symptoms may include headache, intestinal distress, tingling of the extremities, sweating, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and weight gain. Remember, these side effects are temporary.

Immediate Benefits

You may wonder what happens when you quit smoking in other areas of your life. Quitting brings about many immediate positive benefits.

  • Your teeth will get whiter, your breath fresher and your skin will appear healthier.
  • Your hair and clothes will no longer smell stale and smoky.
  • In addition, your damaged sense of taste will begin to return to normal and you will enjoy eating food more.
  • You also will no longer have to leave your family and friends to have a cigarette or worry about avoid exposing them to secondhand smoke.

Quit Smoking Timeline

The American Cancer Society has developed a timeline to show what happens when you stop smoking.

  • Within the first 12 hours of quitting, your heart rate and blood pressure drop and carbon dioxide levels return to normal.
  • Within three months, circulation and lung functions increase.
  • Within nine months, lung function is returning to normal.
  • One year after quitting, the risk of heart disease is cut in half and within five years, the risk of oral, esophagus, and bladder cancers is cut in half and stroke risk is greatly reduced.
  • Finally, ten years after quitting, lung cancer risk is also cut in half.

Other Benefits

In addition to the health benefits of kicking the habit, there are some other welcome benefits.

  • Improved looks and not worrying about offending others when smoking may increase your self-esteem. Worrying less about your health can cause you to feel more relaxed.
  • In addition, money once spent on cigarettes can now be put towards something else or saved. Putting that money away for retirement is a great option.

When you know what happens when you quit smoking, the process may be easier. It is never too late to quit because the body has an amazing ability to heal itself and reverse much of the damage caused by smoking. By keeping in mind the positive side effects of quitting smoking and knowing that the negative ones are temporary, you can be on your way to living a healthier, more energetic, and smoke-free lifestyle.



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