Quitting smoking is not an easy task to undertake and by now we are all aware of the harm caused by smoking, but the long and short term benefits of quitting are worth it. Health benefits of quitting smoking begin just twenty minutes after your last cigarette. The United States Surgeon General says, “Smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”
So, what are the health benefits of quitting smoking? Read on to find out!
1. Easy breathing
Studies show that people breathe easier and cough less once they quit smoking. This is, primarily, due to the increased lung capacity that accompanies smoking cessation. Reports state that lung capacity can increase by up to 10% within the first nine months after you quit smoking.
As young adults, you might not notice the immediate damaging effects of smoking on lung capacity. Lung capacity generally decreases as you grow older even without smoking, so it is important to maximize your lung capacity throughout your lifetime should be a priority to ensure that you maintain your health. Choosing to smoke reduces your lung capacity, which can make easy tasks such as walking or climbing stairs increasingly difficult as you age.
2. Reduced stress
Are you struggling with overwhelming stress levels? Then ditch your cigarettes now! Do you find it difficult to believe that stress levels are reduced once you quit? Well, read on to find out how.
A short while after smoking a cigarette your stress levels increase due to withdrawal of nicotine. The stress that results from nicotine withdrawal feels the same as other stresses, which means that when you light another cigarette you’ll feel like your stress levels are reducing, however, that is not the case. You were just feeling the stress of nicotine withdrawal which seems alleviated after a cigarette.
Moreover, scientists have found that the withdrawal stress levels continue to decrease the longer you have stopped smoking. If you are someone who’s prone to stress, it is important to find other, healthier, alternatives that will help to reduce your stress.
3. Quitting smoking improves feritlity
Non smokers, typically, find it easier to get pregnant. Smoking affects each stage of reproduction. Consequently, stopping smoking will help improve the lining of the uterus for women and, in men, makes sperm more potent. Besides, quitting will also increase the success of conceiving through IVF, and reduce the probability of miscarriage. Above all, quitting smoking will improve the chance of delivering a healthy baby.
4. Quit smoking for younger looking skin
Want younger looking skin? You know what to do now, quit smoking! Quitting smoking has shown to slow premature facial aging and delay the onset wrinkles. As a result, non smokers have better looking skin because their skin is getting more nutrients and oxygen.
5. Quit smoking to have more energy
Blood circulation starts improving within 2 to 12 weeks from the time you quit smoking. As a result, all your physical activities, like walking and running, become easier. Additionally, it will improve your immune system by giving it a much needed boost. This means that your immune system will be more prepared to fight off colds and other illnesses. The increased levels of oxygen in the blood will reduce headaches and fatigue.
6. Quitting smoking will lead to better sex
Researchers have found that smoking causes a decrease in both sexual desire and performance. Like we saw earlier, quitting smoking will improve blood circulation in the body, which in turn, improves sensitivity. Men who quit smoking may have less difficulty getting an erection and women may find that their orgasms have improved. Women may also find that they become aroused more easily. Additionally, findings show that non-smokers are three times more appealing than smokers to potential romantic partners.
7. Quitting smoking will improve your sense of smell and taste
When you decide enough is enough and quit smoking, you will feel that your sense of taste and smell improves significantly. You may start to notice that the food tastes and smells better. This is because your mouth and nose recover from being ‘blunt’ by the hundreds of toxic chemicals found in cigarettes. The chemical compounds found in these cigarettes reduce the ability of your taste buds to register four basic tastes which is salty, sweet, sour, and bitter. Moreover, breathing in the hot fumes of cigarette smoke can also damage the senses.
Michael Fiore, MD, MPH, founder and director of the University of Wisconsin Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention says, “I can’t tell you how many smokers who have successfully quit come back to the clinic and say eating is a totally different experience, the pleasure of eating is dramatically enhanced when smokers quit. And it happens within a few days but can continue for up to three to six months.”
8. Quitting smoking will make your teeth whiter and breath sweeter
Have you given up tobacco? If you have, you will notice that your teeth have stopped becoming discolored and your breath has improved. The main reason for bad breath for smokers is due to the cigarette chemicals building up in your mouth. The likelihood of getting gum disease and losing teeth prematurely are also decreased for former smokers.
9. Live Longer
Half of long term smokers die early as a result of diseases caused by smoking, such as heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic bronchitis. Furthermore, men who quit smoking, at say the age of 30, added 10 years to their life whereas people who quit this practice at the age of 60 added three more years to their life. These results tell us that it’s never too late to quit smoking. Not only does it add years to your life, but also improves the prospects of living a disease free longer
10. Quit smoking to protect loved ones
You will not only protect your health, but the health of those around you who don’t smoke. When people around you breathe in secondhand smoke, their risk for smoking related diseases also increase. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke have twice the likelihood of getting chest illnesses, like pneumonia, ear infections, asthma and wheezing. Children of parents who smoke will also have three times the risk of getting lung cancer when compared to children who lived with non smokers.
In this article, we have seen the health benefits of quitting smoking, but there are other non health benefits too:
- You will be saving money. The cost of cigarettes is downright expensive.
- You have an increased chance of finding a mate. Have you looked through dating websites? Then you would have come across the phrase “No smokers, please.”
- Better overall appearance. Cigarette smoke gets trapped in clothes and ruins it. Take note of a smoker who has come into the room after smoking, you will get a general idea what you’ve been smelling like before you quit.
- Profound social benefits.
- Self esteem benefits.