Health Rewards for Quitting Smoking Cigarettes & Cigars

We often read about the negative and almost gruesome health effects of bad habits like smoking, but we don’t often hear about the rewards of quitting these habits. Since rewards are good motivators, here are the positive things that can happen, the moment you stop smoking.

Health Rewards for Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

When You Stop Smoking…

If you stop smoking for one day, within 20 minutes of the last puff of a cigarette, your blood pressure and your heart rate will begin to drop. One effect of nicotine from cigarettes is to raise both blood pressure and heart rate, so this drop is not necessarily life threatening for a smoker. An increased heart rate is something you don’t want over a prolonged period, because it can predispose you to a heart attack; and increased blood pressure can lead to stroke. Twelve hours after your last cigarette, the toxic gas, carbon monoxide, starts to dissipate and oxygen starts to increase. Increased oxygenation rejuvenates cells, improving their health and function. The increase in oxygen levels also improves your circulation. This is a life saver because a mere one percent increase in carbon monoxide in your blood places you at a 22 percent risk of suffering from a tobacco related death. If you prolong your smoke free lifestyle by two months, carbon dioxide levels will fall by up to 17 percent.

In about two weeks, lung function will begin to improve. First, the cilia (tiny hairlike projections in the lungs, which sweep away dust, pollen and other minute particles to keep your lungs clear) will begin to repair themselves. This means you will cough less, because the particles irritating your lungs will start to clear. In five to ten years, the risk of death from respiratory disease decreases by 18 percent while the risk of dying from lung cancer falls by 21 percent. Even if there is lung damage from cigarettes, giving up smoking still helps. According to a 2005 study, almost 6,000 middle-aged smokers diagnosed with mild lung conditions, who stopped smoking, had lower death rates (46 percent) compared to those who carried on smoking.

Giving up smoking is never easy: according to experts, it might take seven to nine attempts before a person successfully stops smoking. But, with the right combination of techniques, relaxation methods, a good support system, and medication, the odds of giving up are definitely increased.

Make Giving up Smoking the Start of a Healthy Lifestyle

When you Eat More Fruit and Vegetables…

A diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables actually improves health in just a fortnight. It can lower blood pressure and increase the antioxidants that fight disease. Blood pressure falls significantly: 6 points systolic (the upper number) and 3 points diastolic (the lower number). Reduce your sodium by two- thirds of a teaspoon, and the numbers drop another 5 and 3 points respectively.

Have you successfully quit smoking; how did you do it? Or how many times have you tried to quit? Let us know all about it in the comments below.

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