There is never a bad time to quit smoking, and during this COVID-19 Pandemic it is more important now than ever to be putting your health first. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified smoking as a factor that may increase the risk of severe illness from COVID-19 for both current and former smokers.
COVID-19 is just one of the many health concerns smokers face. Smoking is a significant risk factor for cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, COPD, rheumatoid arthritis and reduced male and female fertility. Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to have coronary heart disease or stroke. Male smokers are 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer. Female smokers are 25.7 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
So, what happens to your body when you quit smoking?
Within just 20 minutes after your last cigarette your blood pressure and pulse begin to return to normal. Additionally, the fibers in your bronchial tubes that previously didn’t move well due to constant exposure to smoke start to move again. When these fibers move it helps move bacteria and irritants out of the lungs, reducing your risk for infection.
8 hours after you last cigarette, your carbon monoxide levels will return to a more normal level. Carbon monoxide is a chemical present in cigarette smoke that replaces the oxygen particles in the blood. When this extra carbon dioxide goes away, your oxygen levels increase back to normal. This increased oxygen helps nourish the blood vessels and tissues.
24 hours after your last cigarette you have already decreased your risk of heart attack. The levels of oxygen that go to your heart have increased and this boosts its functioning. The number of constricted veins and arteries have been reduced and nicotine levels in the bloodstream have decreased to negligible amounts.
48 hours after your last cigarette, nerve endings previously damaged by smoking begin to regrow. You also may start smelling things better than you were before, as smoking can dull the senses.
72 hours after you quit smoking you will find yourself breathing more easily. At this point the bronchial tubes inside the lungs have begun to relax and open up more. This makes air exchange easier. Additionally, your lung capacity, or ability of the lungs to fill up with air, increases.
One week after you quit smoking you hit a major milestone in quitting! Did you know smokers who successfully make it one week without smoking are 9 times as likely to successfully quit?! If you can make it one week without cigarettes, chances are you can make it for a lifetime!
Two weeks after quitting breathing continues to get easier, but you may notice walking is easier. Circulation and oxygenation are improved greatly, and your lung function has increased as much as 30%.
One month after your last cigarette your overall health will feel changes. You may notice heightened energy, decreased sinus congestion and decreased shortness of breath with exercise. At this point in time the fibers in your lungs that keep the lungs health are growing back. These fibers help reduce excess mucus buildup and protect against bacterial infections.
One year after you quit your lungs experience dramatic improvements in capacity and functioning. You breathe easier when exerting yourself and you will be coughing much less than when you smoked. Along with health benefits that come with quitting smoking, you also save a large amount of money. If you were previously smoking one pack of cigarettes per day, by one year you will have saved one thousand dollars.
Three years after your last cigarette your risk of heart attack has decreased to that of a non-smoker.
Five years after you quit smoking your risk of death from lung cancer has been cut in half compared to when you smoked.
Ten years after you quit smoking your risk of dying from lung cancer has decreased to that of a nonsmoker. Cells that were previously precancerous are now replaced with healthy cells. Your risk of cancer in the mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidneys and pancreas has also decreased.
Fifteen years after you quit smoking your risk for heart attack and stroke has decreased to that of someone who has never smoked before.
While the benefits of quitting smoking are undeniable, we understand it can be difficult to quit. Have you tried to quit smoking cigarettes but have been unsuccessful? You are not alone. A survey found that 70% of the approximately 34 million adult cigarette smokers in the United States wanted to quit, and only 55% attempted to do, with only 7% successfully quitting.
Struggling to quit smoking does not make you a failure. Many smokers have to attempt quitting several times before being successful.
Rochester Clinical Research is here to help you on your journey to quit smoking. We are beginning a new smoking cessation study that will help you make 2021 your year to quit smoking.
Are you ready to take that step with RCR and quit smoking? See if you qualify below or call us at 288-0890 to speak to one of our recruiters.