Are you thinking of choosing a tobacco free lifestyle and are curious about the more immediate and long-term benefits of doing so? The health benefits of quitting start immediately from the moment of smoking cessation. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.

How does your body recover after certain amounts of time?

20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

12 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

2 – 3 weeks/months: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

1-9 months: Coughing and shortness of breath decreases; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

1 year: the excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

5 years: Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Smoke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.

10 years: The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

15 years: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

Tips for becoming tobacco free

  1. Don’t quit cold-turkey; slowly wean yourself off tobacco products.
  2. Try nicotine-replacement therapy such as nicotine gum and nicotine patches.
  3. Tell friends and family that you’re quitting so they can help support you.
  4. Find additional ways to relieve stress.
  5. Avoid the activities you typically associated with using tobacco products.
  6. Be physical and exercise more.
  7. Know why you’re quitting, pick a reason and focus on it.
  8. Do not try dieting in addition to quitting tobacco products; too much deprivation at once can just be too much.
  9. Choose a reward for yourself and reward yourself often.
  10. Relapse happens; don’t let it prevent you from quitting.

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