Many people don’t truly recognize the harshly addictive quality of nicotine until they try to quit for the first time. Nicotine withdrawal causes a broad range of symptoms in varying levels of severity, and proves very difficult for many people to overcome. Addiction to nicotine is particularly hard to break for many because of the psychological dependence that is acquired.
Quitting smoking can make a drastic improvement to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect. Once you quit smoking, some of the benefits are immediate and some are longer-term.
You will protect the health of those around you by not exposing them to second-hand smoke, however careful you think you are being. You will reduce the chances of your children suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, and meningitis and ear infections.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can actually begin as early as 30 minutes after smoking a cigarette. Depending on how long a person has been smoking, and on how heavily they smoke, the effects of nicotine on the brain generally wears off anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. It has a very short life span once introduced to the brain, and therefore must be delivered in very regular doses in order to maintain the ‘buzz’ that the brain is used to functioning on.
After 20 minutes: Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal.
After 1 to 9 months: Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath has decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs, thereby increasing their ability to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean and reduce infections. Your body’s overall energy has increased.
After 1 year: Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.
After 5 years: Your risk of a subarachnoid hemorrhage has declined to 59% of your risk while still smoking . If you are a female ex-smoker, your risk of developing diabetes is now that of a non-smoker .
After 15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is now that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of pancreatic cancer has declined to that of a never-smoker.