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How To Quit Smoking For Good - Addiction Treatment - Plum Creek Recovery Ranch Austin, Texas

What Really Happens When You Quit Smoking Cigarettes

Along with Memorial Day, today is also National Stop Smoking Day 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, there are now medications and other proven-effective tools that 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 an option that’s best for you.

How Long Before the Health Benefits Kick in After I Quit Smoking?

The answer might surprise you … 20 minutes. That’s right! In just 20 minutes after a smoker’s last cigarette, the health benefits of not smoking start. 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 for 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.

Treatment For Drug Addiction

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.

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