My parents were smokers, and I said I would never smoke. Then came high school and teenage rebellion, so I tried smoking, but I was always athletic and it never really took root.
After high school, I joined the military, which had a strong smoking culture at that time. It was a social thing -- taking a break with a friend and having a smoke. I continued smoking until my late 20s. When I quit, I got athletic again and ran four marathons.
Then, in my mid-30s, life got rough. In a period of 6 months,...
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.