Quitting smoking is a hugely popular New Year’s resolution, and while it’s great to hear that you want to quit, it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but knowing what happens to your body after you smoke your last cigarette might just give you a little push and motivation to beat the habit.
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances in the world, and to rid yourself of it might be a struggle, but it’s definitely worth it.
The health effects of stopping smoking are quite incredible, and what’s more, they kick in almost immediately. After a few days you’ll see a real benefit to your health, and hopefully, that’ll fuel you to keep going.
What happens to your body after your last cigarette?
After just 20 – 30 minutes of giving up smoking, individuals’ blood pressure and pulse drops.
After two hours – circulation of blood around your body improves, and you may begin to feel warmth or other sensations in your fingertips. Withdrawal symptoms are likely to kick within a couple of hours too, you’re likely to feel anxious, irritable and suffer cravings.
After eight hours – the nicotine in your bloodstream has reduced drastically and you may notice an increase in your cravings.
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After 24 hours – The levels of carbon monoxide in your blood have been steadily lowering since your last cigarette. By now, your blood oxygen levels will have risen to nearly the level of a non-smoker. This is good news for your blood cells, which have been prevented from using the oxygen in your blood stream properly while you smoked.
After 1 year the risk of heart disease reduces to half that of a smoker.
After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
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Quit smoking tips from the experts at NiQuitin
- Break up the routine to break the habit: If you’re used to smoking when you buy your lunch, make a sandwich at home so you don’t have to go out. If it’s that morning coffee and a cigarette that you’re reliant on, try replacing your coffee with a glass of fresh juice to be extra healthy. The key is to break the routine.
- Set timeline: Set yourself a realistic timeline – it’s just not feasible to expect to quit overnight. If you break the overall goal into smaller steps and reward yourself when you achieve them, you’re more likely to be successful giving up.
- Track your triggers: Start a quitting diary to track how you’re feeling and identify any craving triggers at each stage. This will help you identify the triggers that make you want to smoke and the things you do to stop the triggers so you can learn to change your daily routine.
- Gather your cheerleaders: Your friends and family will be an essential piece of support on your mission to quit. Let loved ones and colleagues know you’re quitting and involve them on your journey so they can give you positive words of encouragement when you are struggling and congratulate you when you reach your goals.
- Buddy up: Quit with a friend, colleague or partner, this means you can keep each other motivated, you’re not in it alone and you’ll always have someone to offer you words of encouragement.
- Distraction: Keep busy, replace those cravings with a hobby or activity. This will keep your mind off the urges and temptations and also support to improve your total health.
- Don’t take on too much: Focus on quitting smoking as your only resolution, and treat the occasional lapse as just a temporary setback, rather than giving up completely.
- Treat yourself: Save the money usually spent on buying cigarettes and you will be surprised how quickly it will add up. Use this money to treat yourself to a spa day, a day out with friends or even a mini city break away with loved ones.
- Speak to a health care professional: There isn’t one solution that fits all, so get the support from your pharmacist or quit smoking advisors and find the right solution for you. There are lots of free resources and support available – speak to your pharmacist or healthcare professional for advice
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The effect of smoking on your mouth
Oral Health Foundation share seven problems that you may not know smoking causes for the health of your mouth, and how you can avoid it by quitting.
The nicotine and tar in tobacco can make your teeth yellow in a very short time. Heavy smokers often complain that their teeth are almost brown after prolonged years of smoking. But this is just the very start of your worries.
Gum disease and tooth loss
Smoking affects how your teeth connect to your gums and bone in your jaw, meaning smokers are more likely to suffer from gum disease. It severely affects the tissue in the gums which make them far more vulnerable to infection. It can also lead to bone loss in the jaw and disintegrates the bone that holds your teeth in place, when weakened this leads to a hugely increased chance of tooth loss.
Smoking results in an increased build-up of bacteria, or plaque, on the teeth which can lead to decay and cavities. Plaque caused by smoking can also affect tissues supporting the roots of the teeth beneath the gum and weakens the bone supporting the tooth.
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When plaque stays on the teeth for a long time due to not cleaning your teeth properly it hardens into a scaly like substance called tartar. Smokers are more likely to suffer from tartar which often leads to receding gums and gum disease.
There are thousands of chemicals contained in every single cigarette, we all know smoking causes cancer but have you ever thought about how when smoking they all enter the body through the mouth. Smoking transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous. Smoking causes roughly two in every three mouth cancer cases.
‘Smokers breath’ is often one of the first problems you develop when smoking. Cigarettes leave smoke particles lingering in the mouth, throat and lungs long after you have finished your cigarette.
Smoking often causes a white or grey patch to develop on the tongue, cheek, or the floor of the mouth, known as leukoplakia. This happens due to the constant irritation of the soft tissues inside the mouth due to smoking.