Despite the fact that there are nearly 1 billion smokers in the world right now, surveys show that 7 out of 10 are willing to kick the habit. They tried, once or numerous times, already but they end up being sucked right back into that vicious circle of addiction.
Contrary to popular opinion, rare smokers actually enjoy smoking. They are well aware of the fact that they are harming themselves physically, psychologically, and financially.
Before diving into the sea of health benefits, let’s first take a look at the financial ones – what can you do with the money you stop spending on cigarettes.
Financial Benefits of Quitting Smoking
As we’ve already calculated in the article about the cost of smoking, smokers spend a great amount of money feeding their addiction. In states with the lowest price per pack of cigarettes that can still amount to around $100,000 over the course of 50 years. In New York, where it costs $12.85 to buy a pack, the total expenditure over 50 years will nearly triple that amount, climbing close to $250,000.
That is a decent amount of money you would be saving in the long run – enough to buy a great new car or afford your child a college education. Also, if you were to put that money into a savings account, you would nearly triple the amount even at a modest interest rate of 4%.
Calculating all the related costs, even those which seem minimal such as lighters and ashtrays, would yield substantial savings over the years. Also, your health insurance premiums would go down for at least 15% but could even be 25% lower, depending on your personal situation. That amount of money is nothing to scoff at.
You will also become less of a burden to your employer and the government. The government is currently spending more than $120 billion every year to fight environmental and health care risks caused by smoking. If everyone stopped smoking that money could be redirected to more worthwhile causes.
Social Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Smokers are often pariahs of the society today. Even though a good portion of the population smokes (nearly 20% of adult Americans) smoking is banned at restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and at a slew of social gatherings.
Social benefits of quitting smoking:
- No longer have to miss out on social events (theater, cinema, exhibitions, and more) where smoking is not allowed.
- Feel at ease around people who do not smoke. It’s not pleasant having to excuse yourself every thirty minutes so you can go have a smoke – people are judgmental and they will let you know about it.
- More easily control your emotions without having to revert to cigarettes as the means of calming your nerves.
- Exercise more willingly. Research has shown that non-smokers engage in healthy exercise on a more regular basis than smokers.
- Stop subjecting your family, friends, and people in your surroundings to secondhand smoke. They will be healthier and have a lower chance of getting sick in the future.
Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Last, but definitely not the least, are the health benefits you will enjoy once you quit smoking. Smoking causes a lot of health issues – lung cancer and cardiac conditions being the worst but certainly not the only ones.
We will divide those benefits into short-term and long-term benefits – long-term being those that are a result of not smoking for one year or longer.
Short-Term Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- 20 minutes – Blood pressure and heart rate both go down. This is a direct result of lower carbon monoxide intake – your blood is getting oxygenated better so there is no reason for your heart to pump as rapidly. Extremities also become warmer, the temperature in them returning to normal levels.
- 8 hours – The nicotine levels in your system have dropped by over 90%. Slight anxiety and craving can occur but it’s not lasting.
- 12 hours – Blood oxygenation is normal – nearing the levels of that of a non-smoker.
- 24 hours – Your systems are now nearly completely nicotine-free. Cravings will start occurring more often and be more intense but will go subside in less than two weeks.
- 48 hours – Damaged nerves are beginning to heal. Although most studies now agree that it takes time to restore smell and taste to pre-smoking levels, that process begins two days after you’ve had your last cigarette.
- 72 hours – There are no longer traces of nicotine in your body. Lungs are starting their slow healing process and breathing becomes easier.
- 10 days – Cravings are beginning to subside substantially.
- 10 days – 2 weeks – Blood circulation has recovered and even peripheral organs such as gums and teeth are enjoying the same circulation levels as those of a non-smoker.
- 2 -4 weeks – Cessation-related anger, depression, and anxiety have subsided and should no longer be an issue.
- 21 days – Brain biochemistry is returning to normal.
- 15 days – 90 days – The risk of suffering from a heart attack is starting to decline. Lungs are beginning to recover and your breathing more easily.
- 20 days – 90 days – Walking is easier and exercising is not a problem it used to be. Smoking-related coughing and wheezing have disappeared.
- 8 weeks – Insulin levels have normalized – weight gain is expected and normal.
- 1 – 9 months – Cilia cells in the lungs are beginning to regrow, coating the lungs and making them more resistant to mucous and more able to fight infections.
Long-Term Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking
- 1 year – The risk of heart attack and associated coronary disease drops down significantly. Research shows it’s now more than 50% lower than it was when you smoked.
- 5 years – The risk of brain bleeds has decreased by 60%. Former female smokers also have a lower chance of developing diabetes.
- 5 – 15 years – The risk of suffering from a stroke now declines and is roughly the same for ex-smokers and nonsmokers.
- 10 years – Your risk of getting type-2 diabetes is now equal to that of a non-smoker. Lung cancer risk drops by 30-50% for heavy smokers and nearly twice as much for smokers who’ve smoked up to a pack of cigarettes day.
- 13 years – Smokers lose 5 more teeth on average than non-smokers. The risk declines to that of a non-smoker after 13 years.
- 15 years – Both the risk of pancreatic cancer and coronary disease are now at the same levels for non-smokers.
- 20 years – Studies suggest that your risks of dying of smoking-related diseases are now minimal and comparable to those of a non-smoker.
The combined benefits of smoking cessation certainly outweigh any temporary relief and enjoyment a smoker gets when lighting up a cigarette. Non-smokers live longer than smokers – 1 out of 2 smokers will die from a smoking-related illness and only about half of long-term smokers will live past the age of seventy. Fortunately, if you quit smoking by the age of 35 chances are that you will avoid the brunt of medical issues that plague long-term smokers. Even if you quit pass the age of 35 you will significantly prolong your life expectancy. Quit right now and start living a fuller, healthier life!