If you smoke, you've likely heard the pleas from friends and family to quit.
You probably know that smoking makes heart
disease, stroke, cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and other killers more likely. You might
even know that smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the U.S. and
But knowing about long-term risks may not be enough to nudge you to quit,
especially if you're young. It can be hard to feel truly frightened by
illnesses that may strike decades later. And...
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
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.