So you’ve made it 28 Days quit, smashed Stoptober and now 5 times more likely to stay quit for good.
Wonderful – but agreed, it’s easy to say (or read) than to do! The famous writer, Mark Twain said “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it a thousand times.” Clearly the famed wordsmith struggled with maintaining his quit attempts.
No matter how heavy or moderate your smoking, fighting urges to smoke is hard – whether these urges arise on day 1, day 28 or 98. So even if you’ve got the end of your Stoptober smoke free you may still be getting through nicotine lozenges like Haribo or climbing the walls to get away from withdrawal symptoms! It can be overwhelming looking at the road ahead. If you are, trust that you are not alone and read on for some healthy motivation for the weeks and months ahead….
Although the physical benefits and the time that they take place is different for each person, you may have already felt a number of health improvements: breathing may have become easier as the airwaves clear up - in just 1 month of not smoking, lung function begins to improve. As healing takes place in the lungs, the capacity increases leading to less coughing and less shortness of breath.
Nicotine cravings are close to none by now (the nicotine is completely out of the body within 72hrs) and your blood circulation may even be much improved so physical cardiovascular activity may be more enjoyable now with a renewed ability. The body has a wonderful knack of healing itself, if we let it! 😊
The timeline below is what you can look forward health wise, the added cash in your back pocked is a given –nearly £4,000 saved per year for the average 20 a day smoker!
4-12 weeks: the addiction will lose its power over you and any psychological effects of withdrawal should end within this time frame too.
3-8 months: The function of the lungs begins to drastically improve, the delicate, hair-like structures inside the lungs known as cilia have recovered from the toll cigarette smoke took on them. These structures help push mucus out of the lungs and help fight infections, so the risk of COPD and other respiratory issues decreases. Coughing and wheezing become less.
5 years: the blood vessels begin to widen reducing the chance of blood clots and risk of stroke
10 years: the risk of lung cancer is cut by about 50% -cancers of the mouth, throat, pancreas and oesophagus is also far less likely
15 years: after this long smoke free, the risk of developing heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.
Although it may be difficult to look at the 15-year mark, trusting in your preparation, and the process of taking things each day is a sensible strategy – soon thoughts about smoking won’t arise either. Remember your support network to ensure they remain vigilant when you’re socialising, keep at the forefront of your mind the ‘WHY’ you started in the first place, celebrate the small wins and reward yourself for how far you’ve come!