Quitting smoking can greatly improve smokers’ long-term health and can even begin paying dividends almost immediately.
Smoking is a leading contributor to many diseases and harms nearly every organ of the body, advises the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says smoking causes more deaths each year than HIV, alcohol use, illegal drug use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents each individually. Smoking not only accounts for 90 percent of all lung cancer-related deaths, but also it increases the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancers almost anywhere in the body.
Nicotine is a toxic, colorless or yellow liquid that is the chief active constituent of tobacco. Because nicotine is addictive, people who want to quit smoking must recognize they will need to overcome their addictions en route to getting healthier. The good news is that, for people who smoke infrequently, most remnants of nicotine are gone within three to four days of quitting, says the Quit Smoking Community. It may take longer for nicotine to leave the bodies of heavy smokers or those who have been smoking for a long time. As nicotine levels decrease, the body will eventually recover from withdrawal symptoms and begin to feel better.
The following are 10 reasons to quit smoking today.
1. Financial savings: The cost of a pack of cigarettes varies depending on where you live, but the cost savings of quitting can add up quickly. New York City and London have some of the most expensive cigarette prices in the world. In America the average price of cigarettes is $5.51, according to Fair Reporters, based on cigarette prices across the United States. Many states fall between $6 and $8 per pack.
2. Cleaner teeth: Smoking can stain teeth, so quitting smoking can prevent future smoking-related stains.
3. Greater lung capacity: Many people find their lung capacity improves by as much as 10 percent within nine months of quitting, according to the World Health Organization. Within one to nine months of quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decreases.
4. Better circulation: Blood flow improves when smokers quit smoking, which can mean fewer feelings of pins and needles in extremities and warmer hands and feet.
5. Improved fertility: Nonsmokers often find it easier to get pregnant because the lining of the womb is stronger and sperm is more potent, says NHS Choices, the United Kingdom’s largest health resource. Quitting also can reduce the chances of birth defects or miscarriage.
6. Blood oxygen improvement: Within 12 hours of quitting, blood oxygen levels return to normal and carbon monoxide levels will drop to normal, offers the quitting helper QuitSmokingSupport.com.
7. Coughing decreases: Chronic cough due to tobacco smoke irritation, and damaged cilia in the lungs can abate over time, says the Mayo Clinic. The cilia can recover, regaining mobility, and mucus production begins to return to a normal level as well.
8. Better sense of smell and taste: The Cleveland Clinic says that smoking can damage the nerve endings in the body, including those involved in taste and smell. People who quit may begin to taste flavors and experience aromas better than they did when they were still smoking.
9. Improved aroma: By quitting smoking, smokers will no longer have the odor of cigarette or cigar smoke clinging to their hair and clothing. That can make them smell more pleasant to themselves and others.
10. Longer life: Quitting significally improves smokers’ chances of living a long, healthy life.