Smoking is a harmful habit that is difficult to quit. The effects of smoking are both immediate and long term. However, the human body is resilient and begins to heal itself quickly after the last cigarette. Healing inside and out continues for many years after you stub out that final smoke.
Blood Pressure, Heart Rate and Circulation
Smoking immediately increases blood pressure and heart rate, and causes vasoconstriction. After only 20 minutes blood pressure and heart rate return to a more normal rate. Circulation to the extremities increases as well. Two weeks to three months later, the body's circulation improves by up to 30 percent.
Heart Attack and Stroke
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, smoking has many effects on the circulatory system. The risk of atherosclerosis and blood clots increases with smoking. Coupled with increases of blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, heart rate, stress and anxiety, heart attacks and strokes are a major health concern for smokers. However, after only 24 hours after a cigarette, the chance of heart attack decreases. After one year, an ex-smoker's chances of a heart attack is half of that of a smoker's. Between five and 15 years, stroke risk returns to that of a nonsmoker. The chance of a heart attack decreases to that of a nonsmoker after 15 years.
A smoker's lungs are compromised by each cigarette. Smoking may lead to bronchial spasms, cough, disease and cancer. About eight hours after a cigarette, carbon monoxide blood level is normal. Lung function improves between two weeks and three months. Congestion and shortness of breath decrease and cilia function returns to normal by nine months. Ten years later, the chance of contracting lung cancer decreases to half that of a smoker.
Infection and Cancer
Smoking impairs the immune system and increases the risk of infection and several types of cancer. Between one and nine months after smoking, the chance of pneumonia and cancer decreases. The risk of other infections and problems associated with inflammation also decreases.
Most smokers who decide to quit will experience withdrawal symptoms as the body itself of nicotine. The body is free of nicotine in two to three days. Some symptoms may be quite bothersome and include weight gain, constipation, mood swings, sore gums and sleep problems. Withdrawal symptoms are all temporary and will cease with time.
Does the Body Heal Itself After Smoking?