- What Will Happen If You Suddenly Stop Smoking? Benefits, Withdrawal
- Within days:
- Within weeks:
- Within a few months:
- Within a year or two:
- How can I counter nicotine withdrawals?
- What happens if I relapse?
- Quitting Smoking for Older Adults
- Nicotine is a drug
- Help with quitting
- Breaking the addiction
- Cigars, pipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, and snuff are not safe
- Secondhand smoke is dangerous
- Good news about quitting
- You can quit smoking: Stick with it!
- For more information about quitting smoking
- What Happens When You Stop Smoking
- 20 minutes
- 4 to 6 hours
- 6 hours
- 24 hours
- 1 week
- 14 days
- 1 month
- 6 weeks
- 3 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 1 year
- 2-5 years
- 10 years
- 15 years
- 15 to 20 years
What Will Happen If You Suddenly Stop Smoking? Benefits, Withdrawal
Since tobacco use leads to nicotine addiction, you may experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability, anxiety, and weight gain.
The benefits of quitting smoking may begin immediately, and the person may feel normal within a few years.
- Blood pressure and heart rate return to normal. Blood circulation may improve.
- Carbon monoxide levels in the blood may decrease and eventually get eliminated.
- The oxygen level may return to normal, and the risk of a heart attack may be reduced.
- Breathing may become easier.
- Both lung function and blood circulation improve.
Within a few months:
- Improved blood circulation
- Reduced cough and shortness of breath
Within a year or two:
- The risk of heart and lung diseases is considerably reduced compared with that in a smoker.
Many aspects of the body are affected by smoking, including the heart, hormones, metabolism, and brain functioning. Apart from weight gain, people who stop smoking may experience the following negative effects right away:
The dangers of smoking are far worse than any short-term side effects of smoking cessation. If you gain weight after quitting smoking, don't be too concerned; most people who quit smoking gain only a small amount of weight. Instead, concentrate on optimizing your diet and increase your physical activity.
How can I counter nicotine withdrawals?
Tobacco use often leads to nicotine addiction and dependency. Because of this, it's crucial to understand what feelings and symptoms come with nicotine withdrawal because there are methods you may do to manage them. Most symptoms are short-lived and not dangerous.
People can try the following methods to manage nicotine withdrawal:
- The most common side effect of quitting smoking is weight gain. People who are concerned about gaining weight are more ly to relapse once they have quit smoking. If you're worried about gaining weight, the exercise would be a great substitute for smoking.
- Do not become dissatisfied or frustrated with the changes in your body and life that occur after quitting smoking.
- Rely on your support system and engaging distractions if you have planned any for your transition to a non-smoking life.
- The first step is to anticipate anxiety and confusion and recognize that they are related to quitting. Wait it out or take a break to talk to a friend who understands what you're going through.
- Understand that your emotions will be heightened for the first few weeks after quitting. Talk to anyone about your mood (such as QuitLine), go for a walk, or do some engaging work. Good exercises can help relieve stress.
- Keep yourself occupied, especially in your smoking time. During times of craving, prepare a little snack or lookout for a job or hobby to keep you occupied.
- Before going to bed, indulge in some relaxing activities such as a warm bath, a massage, or reading a book.
- While you wait for this period to pass, stay away from spicy and heavy meals.
- To relieve tension, try deep breathing or meditation. Wear light clothing and drink plenty of water to stay cool.
- Consult a health professional. They may recommend nicotine replacement therapy to manage withdrawal symptoms or the use of an inhaler. Medication is also an option for some cases.
When you stop smoking, your body immediately begins to heal. According to the National Cancer Institute, smokers who quit before 40 years of age have a 90 percent chance of escaping from smoking-related diseases. Even if you've already been diagnosed with lung cancer or another disease, quitting makes a difference. The earlier a person quits, the better their health.
What happens if I relapse?
When a person resumes smoking after weeks, months, or years of abstinence, it is referred to as a relapse. It is usually the result of a massive trigger or an unexpected event.
A smoking relapse can result in increased:
- Health problems
- Negative feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness
You will go through all the withdrawal symptoms as if you were quitting for the first time.
Most smokers attempt to quit several times, and evidence suggests that it may take seven to nine attempts to successfully quit smoking. During the quitting process, relapse is a common occurrence.
Every time you quit, you learn something new. Don't give up. You still have a chance to avoid a full relapse. Commit to the no-dragging rule. Making mistakes or slipping up can be a beneficial experience if you are willing to learn from them. Remember, you'll be stronger from every episode of relapse.
How to Quit Smoking: 13 Tips to End Addiction See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 10/11/2021
What to expect when you quit smoking: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/What-to-expect-when-you-quit-smoking What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking? https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/what-happens-body-quit-smoking 5 things that happen to your body when you quit smoking: https://www.geisinger.org/health-and-wellness/wellness-articles/2020/03/30/13/45/5-things-that-happen-when-you-quit-smoking
Staying Tobacco-free After You Quit: https://www.cancer.org/healthy/stay-away-from-tobacco/guide-quitting-smoking/staying-tobacco-free-after-you-quit-smoking.html
Quitting Smoking for Older Adults
“I’ve smoked two packs of cigarettes a day for 40 years—what’s the use of quitting now? Will I even be able to quit after all this time?
It doesn’t matter how old you are or how long you’ve been smoking, quitting smoking at any time improves your health. When you quit, you are ly to add years to your life, breathe more easily, have more energy, and save money. You will also:
Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirms that even if you’re 60 or older and have been smoking for decades, quitting will improve your health.
Smoking shortens your life. It causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year. Smoking makes millions of Americans sick by causing:
- Lung disease. Smoking damages your lungs and airways, sometimes causing chronic bronchitis. It can also cause emphysema, which destroys your lungs, making it very hard for you to breathe.
- Heart disease. Smoking increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Cancer. Smoking can lead to cancer of the lungs, mouth, larynx (voice box), esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, and cervix.
- Respiratory problems. If you smoke, you are more ly than a nonsmoker to get the flu, pneumonia, or other infections that can interfere with your breathing.
- Osteoporosis. If you smoke, your chance of developing osteoporosis (weak bones) is greater.
- Eye diseases. Smoking increases the risk of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss and blindness, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- Diabetes. Smokers are more ly to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers, and smoking makes it harder to control diabetes once you have it. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to blindness, heart disease, nerve disease, kidney failure, and amputations.
Smoking can also make muscles tire easily, make wounds harder to heal, increase the risk of erectile dysfunction in men, and make skin become dull and wrinkled.
Older adults are more ly to get severely ill from COVID-19. Smoking can make you more ly to be hospitalized, need the use of a ventilator to help you breathe, or need intensive care if you are affected by the COVID-19 virus. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, it is important that you speak with your health care provider immediately. To learn ways to quit smoking, please visit the CDC.
Nicotine is a drug
Nicotine is the drug in tobacco that makes cigarettes so addictive. Although some people who give up smoking have no withdrawal symptoms, many people continue to have strong cravings for cigarettes. They also may feel grumpy, hungry, or tired. Some people have headaches, feel depressed, or have problems sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms fade over time.
Help with quitting
Many people say the first step to quitting smoking successfully is to make a firm decision to quit and pick a definite date to stop. Make a plan to deal with the situations that trigger your urge to smoke and to cope with cravings. You may need to try many approaches to find what works best for you. For example, you might:
Some people worry about gaining weight if they quit. If that concerns you, make a plan to exercise and be physically active when you quit—it may distract you from your cravings and is important for healthy aging.
Breaking the addiction
When you quit smoking, you may need support to cope with your body’s desire for nicotine. Nicotine replacement products help some smokers quit. You can buy gum, patches, or lozenges over the counter.
There are also prescription medications that may help you quit. A nicotine nasal spray or inhaler can reduce withdrawal symptoms and make it easier for you to quit smoking.
Other drugs may also help with withdrawal symptoms. Talk with your doctor about which medicines might be best for you.
Cigars, pipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, and snuff are not safe
Some people think smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco and snuff), pipes, and cigars are safe alternatives to cigarettes. They are not. Smokeless tobacco causes cancer of the mouth and pancreas. It also causes precancerous lesions (known as oral leukoplakia), gum problems, and nicotine addiction.
Pipe and cigar smokers may develop cancer of the mouth, lip, larynx, esophagus, and bladder. Those who inhale when smoking are also at increased risk of getting lung cancer as well as heart disease, chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and emphysema.
Using a hookah to smoke tobacco poses many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous
Secondhand smoke created by cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can cause serious health problems for family, friends, and even pets of smokers. Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for people who already have lung or heart disease.
In adults, secondhand smoke can cause heart disease and lung cancer. In babies, it can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year of age.
Children are also more ly to have lung problems, ear infections, and severe asthma if they are around secondhand smoke.
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, deliver nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals that are inhaled by the user. They are sometimes called “e-cigs,” “e-hookahs,” “mods,” “vape pens,” “vapes,” or “tank systems,” and may look regular cigarettes, pens, or even USB sticks.
They may contain harmful substances lead and cancer-causing chemicals, in addition to nicotine, which is addictive. Some flavorings in e-cigarettes have been linked to lung disease. Scientists are still studying the long-term effects e-cigarettes may have on your health. The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved e-cigarettes as a quit-smoking aid. There is limited evidence that they help smokers quit.
Good news about quitting
The good news is that after you quit smoking, even in your 60s, 70s, or beyond:
- Your heart rate and blood pressure drop to more normal levels.
- Your nerve endings begin to regenerate, so you can smell and taste better.
- Your lungs, heart, and circulatory system will begin to function better.
- You will cough and feel breath less often.
- Your chance of having a heart attack or stroke will drop.
- Your breathing will improve.
- Your chance of getting cancer will be lower.
No matter how old you are, all these health benefits are important reasons to make a plan to stop smoking.
A trained counselor can help you stop smoking or stay on track. You can call:
You can quit smoking: Stick with it!
Many people need a few tries before they quit smoking for good. If you slip and have a cigarette, you are not a failure. You can try again and be successful. Try these tips to get back to your goal.
It’s never too late to get benefits from quitting smoking. Quitting, even in later life, can significantly lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer over time and reduce your risk of death.
Read about this topic in Spanish. Lea sobre este tema en español.
For more information about quitting smoking
What Happens When You Stop Smoking
When you have a cigarette, within 10 seconds of the first puff, the poisonous chemicals in tobacco smoke reach vital organs including your heart and brain. Shortly after, your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to rise.
But your body is very good at healing itself, so you may be surprised at how quickly you see real health benefits after stopping smoking.
How quickly and how well your body heals depends on the number of cigarettes you normally smoke each day and how long you’ve been smoking, as well as whether you already have a smoking-related health condition. But there will be some improvements and quitting smoking at any age will increase your life expectancy.
Check out the timeline below to find out what is happening in your body over time when you stop smoking.
In as little as 20 minutes after having a cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate will go down.
4 to 6 hours
In around four to six hours, your breath becomes fresher.
Even after a few hours without a cigarette, the nicotine levels in your body fall quickly, which can cause nicotine withdrawal. Around this time, you may start to experience symptoms and feelings such as irritability and restlessness. Make sure you remind yourself that your body is healthier without tobacco.
Just six hours after your last cigarette, your heart rate slows to normal and your blood pressure becomes more stable.
One day after your last cigarette, your immediate risk of heart attack starts to fall.
Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide, which can reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. After 24 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood falls significantly, while the oxygen level increases, meaning your muscles, heart and other vital organs can work more easily.
After seven days without smoking, you will have higher levels of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C in your blood.
After a week without smoking, nerve endings damaged by smoking will start to regrow so you may start to notice you have more ability to taste and smell.
By two weeks without smoking, your breathing and walking will be easier because of your improved circulation and oxygen levels in your blood.
After four weeks, most of your nicotine withdrawal symptoms and feelings will have faded.
Your body will also get better at fighting infections in cuts and wounds.
You may be starting to feel less stressed than when you were smoking.
At the three-month point, plenty is happening in your body.
Your lungs’ natural cleaning system (involving little hair- cells called cilia) is recovering and getting better at removing mucus, tar and dust from your lungs. This means coughing should improve and you are ly to be wheezing less. To help the process along, try doing some exercise.
Your immune system will also be starting to recover, enabling your body to do a better job of fighting off infection.
Your circulation system will be working better and your blood will be less thick and sticky. So the blood flow to your feet and hands will have improved.
A more visible change will be the fading of tobacco stains on your fingers.
Half a year after quitting smoking, you are less ly to be coughing up phlegm.
After nine months without cigarettes, you will have much more energy thanks to so many improvements in your health.
Coughing, blocked sinuses and shortness of breath will all have decreased.
The cilia that keep the lungs clean will have all regrown and will be doing their job well.
Your immune system will be more able to fight off colds and flu.
After one year as a non-smoker, your increased risk of coronary heart disease will be half that of a person who continues to smoke.
Your lungs will be healthier and you will be breathing more easily than if you’d kept smoking.
Between two and five years after your last cigarette, there will be a large drop in your risk of heart attack and stroke. This risk will continue to gradually decrease over time.
After 10 to 15 years without smoking, your increased risk of lung cancer will be around half that of a person who continues to smoke. Gradually, abnormal cells will have been replaced by healthy cells.
Your risk of other cancers, including oesophageal, bladder, laryngeal, oral cavity, cervical and pancreatic, will have decreased substantially.
Your risk of mouth, throat and oesophagus cancer will be half that of a person who continues to smoke.
If you smoked 20 cigarettes a day, you would have saved $164,250 (assuming a cost of $30 per pack of 20).
15 to 20 years
15 to 20 years after your last cigarette, your risk of coronary heart disease will be the same as a non-smoker.
Your risk of stroke will be close to that of a person who has never smoked.
Over time, your risk of lung disease, cancer, and many other serious illnesses will be much lower than if you kept smoking.