How the Body Recovers from Smoking

You probably know how smoking can damage your health, but do you know how long it takes to recover? When you quit smoking, the damage begins to heal in less than half an hour. That’s how long it takes after your final cigarette for your blood pressure and pulse rate to get back to normal.

That’s only the start of the health benefits of giving up smoking. Eleven different types of cancer are linked to smoking, as well as a variety of heart and respiratory ailments. Smoking raises your risk of stroke, heart attack, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and type 2 diabetes. If you wear contact lenses, you may find them more comfortable after you quit smoking, which dries out your eyes.

If you quit, you’ll feel the benefits immediately. Within a day after putting out the final stub, your nicotine levels in your blood fall more than 93 percent, your blood oxygen and carbon monoxide levels will be normal. A day after you quit you’ll be at the height of anxiety; nervousness is a common withdrawal symptom, but it starts going down after this point. By the end of the second day, the typical now-former smoker will be starting to recover, with nerve endings damaged by smoking beginning to regrow, sense of smell and taste starting to come back, and irritability about to decline.

There are other benefits besides improvements to your health. Smoking can cost $2,000 to $3,000 per year. But more than just the money, it’s your life. When you quit smoking, you are in control of your own life. Freeing yourself from the addiction is freeing yourself from having to avoid or limit your time in places where smoking isn’t allowed, freeing yourself from smelling like a smoker, freeing yourself from spending thousands of dollars to feed your habit.

When you quit, the nicotine is completely out of your body within 72 hours. You’re well on the road to recovery. If you can hang in there for two weeks, you’ll find your cigarette cravings are almost completely gone. It all gets better from there.

This Thursday is the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smokeout. Join millions of Americans having their last cigarette this week. Do it for your health.

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