In order to succeed in quitting smoking, you need to understand what your body will experience when you stop smoking. This will give you the motivation to see how your body will react to stopping smoking. It is better to focus on the positive health benefits of quitting rather than the withdrawal symptoms. To make it even more effective, I visualize myself being smoke-free and imagine my cells and organs recovering from the harmful effects of cigarettes.
Now, the question is, what is going to happen to your body once you throw away your last cigarette? I’ve done some research on the internet that I want to share with you, hoping you will be motivated as well.
Quitting Smoking Timeline
After 20-30 minutes
It is no secret that during and after smoking, the blood pressure and pulse rate increase. That is why it may help if we feel let down and want a little boost, just like when we drink a coffee or an energy drink. This is a short-term effect.
The long-term effect is much more severe. Your blood vessels narrow, and your heart beats faster due to cigarette nicotine. This leads to constant higher blood pressure, which is the main reason for of wide range of cardiovascular diseases.
After about half an hour, the heart rate and blood pressure return to the level before smoking. This means me a more calm state.
After 8-10 hours
Nicotine is a harmful and addictive drug that causes your blood vessels to constrict or narrow, limiting the amount of blood flowing to your organs and cells.
Interestingly, after a quarter of a day of not smoking, the nicotine level drops significantly in the bloodstream. Almost all the nicotine is gone from your bloodstream. The reduction is over 90%!
After 12-14 hours
As a result, carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin in your red blood cells, preventing oxygen from releasing into your body. Cigarettes reduce the amount of oxygen available in your body. Consequently, the blood’s oxygen level is lower, which means it does not effectively support the organs and cells.
When the body’s tissues don’t receive sufficient oxygen to maintain homeostasis, hypoxia occurs; it can be caused by a low blood oxygen level or insufficient oxygen delivery. It leads to several uncomfortable effects, both physical and mental.
After a half-day, your blood oxygen level increases to normal levels since the carbon-dioxide level drops to normal. Oxygen in our bloodstream helps renew cells, delivers energy, and supports the function of our immune system, among other functions. So, an optimal level is fundamental.
You can perform physical activities more comfortably and without gasping for air as much.
After a day
This is the point when the mental withdrawal symptoms are on the top. And that is why you should be strong and not relapse. After two weeks, most people’s anxiety levels settle back to near pre-cessation levels. So, hold on! It is going to be much better. I think the first day is the most critical point.
After two days
Smoking damages the brain cells since it restricts blood flow to them. This way, they can’t get the optimal level of sources. But, at this point, they start to recover.
Exposure to the olfactory tissue causes a loss in olfactory recognition and sensitivity to smells. As a result of smoking, the taste buds change in size, shape, and vascularization. That’s why most smokers find it hard to enjoy their food thoroughly!
It’s amazing! In just two days, You are starting to smell and taste things normally again. So, have an excellent dish and enjoy the smells and tastes again.
Now that you have reached the peak of frustration, anger, and irritability, you are almost done with this phase.
After 3 days
Smoking leaves behind chemicals in the body called nicotine metabolites. They leave the body through urine. After just 72 hours, 90% of these chemicals are excreted from the body. You’re almost nicotine free! To speed up this process, try to drink as much water as possible. Water also eases withdrawal symptoms.
Chemical withdrawal causes increased agitation and anger. Since most chemicals have been washed away from the body through urine, these mental symptoms start to get much better.
As smokers recover, their respiratory system, including airways and air sacs, begins to relax. Breathing is getting better, and the lungs are getting more efficient. As a result, you can perform physical activities even more efficiently and effortlessly! You won’t huff and puff like before!
After 5-10 days
At this point, most ex-smokers experience stronger cravings three times a day, typically lasting for about 3-5 minutes. While they are just a few minutes, you may feel them much longer. You can fight against these challenging times more effectively by checking your watch.
However, it is important to note that the duration and strength of withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on several factors, including your situation and the degree to which you smoked.
After 10-15 days
At this distance, stronger crawlings are usually reduced to one or two per day. However, this depends on some factors. Most of the time, this is the point at which the addiction subsides significantly. You become more and more independent as time goes on.
In addition, your body is gradually becoming more and more similar to that of a non-smoker. Your gums, teeth, and blood circulation are almost identical to that of a non-smoker.
After 3-4 weeks
Most psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as insufficient sleep, concentration difficulties, anger, impatience, etc., have improved by this time. Unfortunately, not all people experience these positive results. If you are still experiencing these factors, it is recommended that you consult your physician.
After 2-3 months
Your body recovers with significant steps. The risk of heart attacks starts to drop, and lung functions improve as well. This means that your whole cardiovascular system recovers, and you can perform much better physically than before. If you haven’t started yet, this is an excellent time to pick up an exercise routine. It improves your recovery and can help a lot to overcome and lighten the remaining withdrawal symptoms. No matter what type of sporting activity you choose, just do it. For beginners, cycling, walking, and jogging are good starting training.
The chronic cough usually ends by this time. If not, you should visit a medic as soon as possible since it might be a sign of lung cancer.
After a year, you have a far cleaner mind and body. It doesn’t mean you never think about the cigarette, but stopping yourself is far more manageable. At this point, the risk of different smoking-related illnesses decreases. In a nutshell, you will feel much better in your skin.
To sum up
The list could be much longer and more detailed since quitting smoking has so many health benefits. Printing this list and adding your research to it may be a good idea. This may encourage you to stop smoking as you will understand how smoking gradually kills you.