If you are a smoker, you already know that your health is at stake. By understanding the positive changes to your body after you’ve stopped smoking, you will be more likely to stick to your new smoke-free regime.
First, it’s important to understand how smoking affects your vital capacity. Ask your doctor to perform a Vital Capacity test to measure the amount of air you take in with each breath. You will be asked to take a deep breath and blow into a device that tells your doctor the volume of air dispelled. Air taken in by healthy lungs holds about 19% oxygen. Smokers take in even less vital oxygen, because the lungs are not able to expand as much. The more you smoke, the lower your vital capacity.
Cigarette smokers also double their risk of heart attack, and sudden cardiac death. Additionally more young smokers are killed by stroke than their young non-smoking peers.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the body has incredible healing powers, and can start to correct the negative effects of smoking within minutes of extinguishing your last butt.
According to the American Cancer Society, these are the estimated healing times following your last cigarette:
* After 15 minutes: Blood pressure, pulse rate, and body temperature of your hands and feet return to normal.
* After 8 hours: your oxygen level increases to normal, and the level of deadly carbon monoxide in your system drops
* After 24 hours: Heart attack risk decreases. You are less likely to have a heart attack in as little as one day after you’ve stopped smoking.
* Within 48 hours: Your senses of smell and taste increase, as damaged nerve endings begin to regrow. Many smokers have no idea that their habit has actually stopped the growth of nerve endings.
* 2 weeks to 3 months: Your lung function has increased by up to 30 percent. Your circulation has improved, and you find it easier to walk. Overall, you’re feeling terrific!
* 1 to 9 months: You’ve noticed a decrease of coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The cilia in your lungs are now able to better handle mucus, clean your lungs and reduce infection.
* After 1 year: You are half as likely than a smoker to have a heart attack.
* After 5 years: You have nearly half the chance of dying from lung cancer as you did when you were a pack-a-day smoker. Risk of esophagus, mouth and throat cancers are half that of smokers. Some communities have banned tobacco companies from giving chewing tobacco away at rodeos where it can easily get into the hands of children.
It’s hard to imagine anything worse than mouth cancer.
* After 10 years: The lung cancer death rate is equal to that of nonsmokers. Pre-cancerous cells have been replaced, and the risk of death from cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas has decreased.
* After 15 years: Your risk of suffering coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.
Your hard work will most definitely pay off in renewed good health, and with healthy financial benefits as well.
Assume that you spend $50.00 per month on cigarettes. If you were to invest that same $600.00 each year into a stock mutual fund, annuity, or other financial instrument that generates 5% annually, you will have saved more than $20,000 after 20 years. Of course, $50.00 per month is a very nominal amount. Most smokers will spend a great deal more while they smoke, and save a great deal more when they stop.
You know that you need to stop smoking. Both your body and your bankbook will be much healthier for it. There are many resources available to help you become a non-smoker, but be wary of television commercials that promote sites to help you quit. As a matter of fact, the first step to your healthier lifestyle should be to turn off the TV altogether. Instead, ask your doctor about the stop smoking methods and support groups that are available to help you quit.