Kicking the cigarette habit helps prevent cancer, heart disease, and a load of other health problems. But did you know quitting smoking can make your day-to-day life easier? You’ll have more energy, healthier skin, whiter teeth, and more when you stop letting cigarettes drag you down and you stick with your quit.
Get Your Glow On
Do you think you look older than your friends who don’t smoke? It’s not your imagination. Smoking ages your skin faster. It breaks down a protein called collagen, which gives your skin its youthful bounce. That’s why you may see wrinkly, saggy, dull skin. Quitting can help clear up blemishes, brighten your skin, and bring back some natural stretchiness.
Fix Your Foul Mouth
A tell-tale sign of smoking is bad breath. But it can wreak havoc all over your mouth, too. Nicotine, tar, and other chemicals in tobacco smoke seep into your tooth enamel. This turns teeth a yellow or brown color. Smoking also puts you at risk of mouth infections and builds up tartar on teeth. Within a week after your last drag, you should see and feel a difference.
Improve Bedroom Time
The nicotine in cigarettes narrows your blood vessels. In men, this can make erections weaker. Quitting may turn this around. Women who quit smoking may find they’re aroused more easily, and orgasms are better.
Get the Stink Out
It’s no secret cigarette smokers smell like an ashtray. Your hair, clothes, home, and car will smell fresher when you quit.
Your immune system takes a beating from all the nasty chemicals in cigarettes. Quitting reboots your circulation, increases oxygen levels, and lowers inflammation. This gives your immune system a kick-start, so it’s easier to fight off colds and other illnesses.
Sharpen Your Senses
Smoking damages nerves all over your body, including those in your nose and mouth. This can interfere with your sense of smell and taste. About 2 days after quitting, nerve endings start to regrow, and taste and smell get better.
Giving up smokes can improve night vision and keep your hearing sharp, too.
You may notice your smoker’s cough goes away and it’s easier to breathe when you go for a walk or run. Why? Cigarette smokers inhale a lot of carbon dioxide, a poisonous, odorless gas. The CO2 binds to red blood cells in your lungs, which oxygen usually does. That can make you feel short of breath while exercising or even when you go up and down stairs. You could see an improvement about 2 weeks after you quit smoking.
Smokers and those who breathe in secondhand smoke tend to snore more, which can disturb sleep. So, everyone can rest easier once you quit smoking.
Take the Hassle Out Life
Most public spaces and offices ban smoking. Are you tired of walking outside in the snow, rain, or blistering heat just to smoke? Is getting through a restaurant meal, movie, or a long flight almost impossible? Quit smoking and it will make your life easier and more enjoyable.
Put Cash in Your Pocket
Smoking is an expensive habit. For instance, if you pay $7 a pack and you smoke 14 cigarettes a day, you’ll save just over $1,780 a year. Just think of what you could do with that money!
Photo Credit: Pixland / Getty Images
Chrishelle H. Stipe, MPH, NCTTP (National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice), cessation manager, Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco Free Living, New Orleans.
National Health Service (United Kingdom): “Quit smoking.”
American Lung Association: “Reasons to Quit Smoking,” “Overall Tobacco Trends.”
CDC: “Enjoy Benefits of Being Smokefree.”
Smokefree.gov: “How Much Will You Save?”