What are the Effects of Quitting Smoking?

Clinically Reviewed by Sarah Hogan, MA LPC

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor with 13 years of experience in the behavioral health field as well as a certified provider of Cognitive Processing Therapy for Trauma. She has extensive experience in counseling and case management with local mental health authorities, emergency homeless shelters, leading high acuity response teams, and serving first responders/veterans.

Along with Memorial Day, National Stop Smoking Day is also here in the United States. Most people understand that nicotine is a drug, but did you know that nicotine is as addictive (if not more) than heroin?

It’s no wonder why so many people have difficulty quitting smoking – and staying off nicotine. For decades, the only method to quit smoking was giving up or going “cold turkey.” As we know now, the success rate of that is extremely low. Fortunately, medications and other proven-effective tools have helped countless people stop smoking for good.

If you’re interested in some of these options, your primary care physician can help you select the best option.
[/vc_column_text][vcex_heading text=”How Long Before the Health Benefits Kick in After I Quit Smoking?” tag=”h2″ el_class=”h2″ font_size=”20″ font_weight=”bold” color=”#444545″ css=”.vc_custom_1631730198191{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text]The answer might surprise you … 20 minutes. That’s right! The health benefits of not smoking start in just 20 minutes after a smoker’s last cigarette. Check out this timeline of what happens when a person stops smoking.

  • 20 minutes after the last cigarette:  Pulse rate returns to normal.
  • 8 hours after the last cigarette:  Oxygen levels return to normal. Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease by over 50%.
  • 48 hours:  Sense of taste and smell is improved. However, symptoms of nicotine withdrawal (usually anxiety and irritability) might start to appear.
  • 72 hours:  Nicotine is completely eliminated from the body, and nicotine withdrawal symptoms will have peaked. The lungs begin to relax, and breathing is easier.
  • 5 to 10 days:  Nicotine cravings begin to reduce.
  • 2 to 12 weeks:  Blood circulation begins to improve, physical activity becomes easier, and the psychological effects of withdrawal have ended.
  • 3 to 9 months:  Lung function greatly improves, coughing/wheezing becomes less frequent, and the risk of respiratory infections lessens.
  • 1 year:  The risk of heart disease decreases by almost 50%.
  • 5 years:  Blood vessels start widening, reducing the risk of blood clots and stroke.
  • 10 years:  The risk for lung cancer is reduced by almost 50%, and the likelihood of mouth, esophageal, throat, and pancreatic cancer is also greatly reduced.
  • 15 years:  Your risk of developing heart disease is the same as a non-smoker.
  • 20 years:  The likelihood that you’ll develop pancreatic cancer is now equivalent to that of someone who has never smoked. In females, the risk of dying from all smoking-related causes is also now the same as that of a non-smoker.

[/vc_column_text][vcex_heading text=”Treatment For Drug Addiction” tag=”h2″ el_class=”h2″ font_size=”20″ font_weight=”bold” color=”#444545″ css=”.vc_custom_1631730476460{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text]Nicotine is a highly addictive drug, and most people need help to recover from addiction. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming an addiction to any drug or alcohol, Plum Creek Recovery Ranch is here to help. Click here to contact one of our caring Admissions Counselors for an absolutely free and anonymous chemical dependency assessment.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_section][/vc_section]

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