What happens to your body after you quit smoking?

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Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you will ever make for your health and wellbeing. But we know it isn’t easy. That initial period after you stamp out the cigarettes can be tough when you’re dealing with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. 

You might feel frustrated that you aren’t seeing or feeling the benefits straight away, and you may even feel worse as the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal start to take hold. 

Immediately after you quit

When you first stop smoking you might feel some strong nicotine withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood changes and trouble sleeping at night, but help is at hand.  We have a wide range of nicotine replacement products available that can help with the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, without the need for tobacco. You can shop our range here.

The beginning of the journey is tough, but the good news is that your body starts its recovery process in as little as 20 minutes after you decide to quit smoking.

So your body has already begun the healing process and you’re on your way to a healthier you. We’ve put together a timeline of what happens to your body on the journey, from the first few minutes to the amazing long-term benefits of quitting to help you keep going.

20 minutes after your last cigarette 

In the first 20 minutes of quitting smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure will begin to drop, signalling the start of your body’s recovery process. 

After the first 12 hours of being smoke-free, the amount of carbon monoxide (the nasty substance produced when tobacco is burned) in your body will start to decrease and your blood oxygen levels will increase. Pretty good for day one isn’t it?

The first week after quitting smoking

As the first week goes on, your risk of having a heart attack begins to reduce and even your sensations of taste and smell will start to improve, as smoking damages the nerves that control these senses. You’ve completed your first smoke-free week and things have literally never tasted so good!

The first few months 

So you’ve got through the first few months. That’s a massive achievement and you should be proud of your progress!  

During the first few months after quitting, you’ll start to feel like you have more energy, so it’s a great time to add some exercise into your daily routine. Running, cycling or even some relaxing yoga can be a really healthy distraction on your mission to quit and it can help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

The biggest change in the early months of quitting smoking is that your lung capacity will start to increase as your lungs begin to repair themselves, so you’ll start to feel less out of breath when exercising.

The first year of being smoke-free

A year has passed since your last cigarette, you’ve smashed it!

Your reward for keeping strong throughout the first year is that your chances of having a heart attack and your overall risk of heart disease are cut in half in comparison to when you were a smoker.

Your airways will also start to feel much clearer as they are exposed to far less smoke and you might start to notice that you are coughing up far less mucus than before. 

5 years and beyond - a healthier way of life

Your time as a smoker feels like a lifetime ago and the health benefits of cutting the cigarettes for good have continued.

After five years without smoking, your arteries and blood vessels will have widened, reducing your chances of stroke. Depending on your overall health, your risk of stroke could be similar to someone who has never smoked if you keep smoke-free for 5 to 15 years.

The good news keeps getting better as your chances of developing smoke-related cancers to the lungs and throat are dramatically reduced.

Keep strong, it’s more than worth it

It's one of the toughest challenges you will face but the benefits of quitting smoking are incredible.

Looking for advice on how to start your journey of becoming smoke-free? Watch our resident pharmacist Kasim’s video on his top tips on how to quit for good.

Got any questions on how to quit smoking, we’re here for you. Drop us a message at ask@rightdose.co.uk with any of your health-related questions.

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