It’s easy to get caught up on the negative side effects that come with recovering from nicotine addiction and forget about the health benefits. The moment you quit smoking, your brain and body begin to heal and the positive effects of this are well and truly worth remembering. So without further ado, let’s look at the health benefits of quitting smoking!
Mental and Neurological Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking.
As soon as you quit smoking, the brain’s wondrous ability to change (a feature known as neuroplasticity) kicks in and two things will occur.
First, the number of nicotine receptors responsible for causing the chemical cravings begin to decrease. This process is known as down-regulation. A significant amount of down regulation is achieved within the first few days of complete abstinence, with almost complete recovery taking between 6-12 weeks.
Secondly; all of those neural connections linking nicotine and cigarettes to specific behaviours, emotions, memories and environments, will gradually weaken and eventually metabolise. Significant recovery can take several months.
Once the brain heals:
- You will not experience the intense cravings you feel as a smoker.
- You will not be pre occupied with smoking or emotionally tied to cigarettes.
- You will gain more pleasure from everyday experiences such as eating and socializing.
- You will be less anxious and less susceptible to depression.
- You will feel more confident and in control.
- You will attain a higher state of self awareness and be in a far better position to achieve more in life.
Physical Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking.
There are numerous benefits to your physical health once you quit smoking. The first of which, is staying alive longer and reducing the risk of a painful demise. Studies such as this British doctors study, have shown if you quit smoking before the age of 30, you can add around 10 years to your life. Even at the age of 50 you can add around 6 years to your life. It’s never too late to quit smoking!
Your quality of life will also improve due to a healthier state of being and the fact you will be more physically able to participate in life. Physical activity is extremely rewarding and beneficial to your life experience and vitality.
According to the following timeline available at Wikipedia, you can expect your health to return in the following manner;
- Within 20 minutes of quitting, blood pressure and heart rate decrease.
- Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease to normal levels.
- Within 48 hours, nerve endings and the sense of smell and taste both start recovering.
- Within 3 months, circulation and lung function improve.
- Within 9 months, there is a big decrease in cough and shortness of breath.
- Within 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half.
- Within 5 years, the risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker, and the risks of many cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix) decrease significantly.
- Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half,and the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers decrease.
- Within 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to the level of a non-smoker.