Smoking in America is down -- but not out. Today, 20% of U.S. adults are smokers, compared to 45% in 1965, when smoking was at its peak. But even at the current level of tobacco use, an estimated 440,000 Americans per year lose their lives to lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, or other smoking-related illnesses. On average, smokers die 14 years before nonsmokers, and half of all smokers who don't quit are killed by their habit.
People start smoking for many reasons. Many continue to puff away...
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.