Asthma and Smoking
How Quickly Will I See Benefits From Quitting Smoking?
After 20 minutes of not smoking:
- Your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to decrease.
- Circulation and the temperature of your hands and feet begin to increase.
After 12 hours of not smoking:
- The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
After 2 weeks to 3 months of not smoking:
- Your chance of heart attack decreases
- Your lungs function better
After one to nine months of not smoking:
- Coughing and shortness of breath decrease
After one year of not smoking:
- Your risk of heart disease decreases to half that of a smoker's risk
After five to 15 years of not smoking:
- Your risk of getting mouth, throat, or esophagus cancer drops to half that of a smoker.
After 10 years of not smoking:
- Your risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost half that of a smoker.
- Your risk of other cancers, such as cancer of the bladder, larynx, kidney, and pancreas decreases
After 15 years of not smoking:
- Your risk of heart disease decreases to that of a nonsmoker.
How Will I Feel When I Quit Smoking?
When you first quit smoking, you may go through withdrawal and:
- Crave cigarettes
- Feel very hungry
- Cough often
- Get headaches
- Have difficulty concentrating
- Have constipation
- Feel very tired
- Have a sore throat
- Have difficulty sleeping
Although withdrawal symptoms will be the strongest when you first quit, they will quickly improve and should go away completely within a few weeks.
I Have Tried to Quit Smoking Before and Failed. What if I Can't Do It?
To quit smoking, you must be ready emotionally and mentally. It may take several tries before you are successful. Some people are more ready to quit than others. Look at these five stages of change that people go through to successfully quit smoking.
- Stage One: Pre-contemplation. You don't want to quit smoking, but you may try to quit because you feel pressured to quit.
- Stage Two: Contemplation. You want to quit with the next 6 months. You haven't taken steps to quit, but you want to quit.
- Stage Three: Preparation. You take small steps to quit such as cutting back on smoking or switching to a lighter brand.
- Stage Four: Action. You commit to quitting. You make changes in your actions and environment to help cope with urges to smoke and remain smoke-free for six months.
- Stage Five: Maintenance. You have not smoked for about six months and work to prevent relapse.
Remember: Smoking again (relapse) is common. In fact, 75% of those who quit will smoke again. Most smokers try to quit three times before being successful. Don't give up!