I started smoking when I was a bored and lonely 17-year-old irrigating
alfalfa fields in Utah for money and reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance for enlightenment. I smoked watching magpies splash in the
ditch, and for 20 years I kept sucking those nasty things for reasons of
self-loathing and distraction, and mainly because I couldn’t stop. In 1996,
just before my son was born, I put a lid on it. I wasn’t going to contaminate
my babies with second-hand smoke. And it wasn't hard...
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.