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Smoking Cessation Benefits


WebMD the Magazine - Feature

Q: How long after I quit smoking will I begin to see the benefits?

A: Almost immediately. Here’s a quick rundown from the Cleveland Clinic:

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How One Woman Quit Smoking for Good

I smoked for more than 44 years and knew I needed to stop. I had smoking-induced asthma. My parents, both heavy smokers, died of smoking-related diseases. Secondhand smoke contributed mightily to my four children’s recurring upper respiratory ailments in their younger years. Yet I continued to smoke. Every winter I dealt with pleurisy attacks from breathing cold air. I had to lie flat on my back for days, the slightest movement sending knifelike pains through my chest. After I’d recovered,...

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After 20 minutes: Your blood pressure and pulse decrease. The temperature of your hands and feet increases.

After eight hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal. Oxygen levels in your blood increase.

After 24 hours: Your chance of heart attack decreases.

After 48 hours: Your ability to taste and smell starts to return.

After 72 hours: The bronchial tubes (airways) relax.

After two weeks to three months: Your circulation improves.

After one to nine months: Cilia (tiny hairs) in the lungs regrow, increasing the lung's capacity to handle mucus, clean itself, and reduce infection. Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath also decrease.

After one to five years: Your risk of dying from heart disease is cut to half that of a lifelong smoker's risk.

After 10 years: Your risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost the same rate as that of a lifelong nonsmoker. Your risk for mouth, larynx, and other cancers decreases.

Brad Bowman, MD, WebMD Medical Editor

 

Reviewed on January 01, 2008

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