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This Is What Happens When You Quit Smoking Now

This Is What Happens When You Quit Smoking Now

It’s estimated that in the U.S. up to 25% of the population 18 years of age and older actively smoke cigarettes. Scientists have identified approximately 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, with more than 50 of them known to cause various cancers. As a matter of fact, the World Health Organization, or WHO, has stated that globally one person dies every six seconds from the use of tobacco. It is estimated that one out of every two smokers will die from tobacco-related diseases, such as cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart attack, stroke and other illnesses.

While the effects from smoking tobacco are cumulative, it is possible to reverse the effects of smoking. Quitting smoking now greatly reduces the chances that you will experience a smoking-related disease, and could increase your lifespan significantly. Your body will begin to heal almost immediately after your last cigarette, and will continue to repair the damage in the days, weeks, months, and years after you have quit.

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What happens after you stop smoking?

  • In the 20 minutes immediately following your last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate begin to return to normal and the circulation to your extremities increases, delivering much needed, oxygen-rich blood.
  • Eight hours after your last cigarette, the carbon monoxide in your system has been 100% eliminated, replaced by the oxygen your cells need to function normally.
  • 24 hours after your last cigarette, your risk of having a heart attack begins to decrease thanks to the normalization of your heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygenation.
  • 48 hours after your last cigarette, the nerve endings that have been blunted begin to reawaken and your sense of smell and taste begin to re-emerge.
  • Between two weeks and three months after your last cigarette, your circulation continues to improve and you can now breathe easier. Your lungs now produce less phlegm and your lung function has begun to improve. Your ability to participate in physical activity is greater, as shortness of breath becomes less of an issue.
  • In one to nine months after your last cigarette, you will notice a significant decrease in your smoker’s cough. Sinus congestion lessens and fatigue and shortness of breath become virtually non-existent. The tiny, hair-like structures that line the interior of your lung cavities become active once more, and your lungs are now functioning much like they did before you began smoking.
  • One year after your last cigarette, your risk of having a heart attack is less than half of that of a regular smoker.
  • Between five and 15 years after your last cigarette, you are at no more risk of having a stroke than other non-smokers.
  • 10 years after your last cigarette, your risk of developing lung cancer drops significantly. Additionally, your risk of developing other cancers, such as that of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas, significantly decreases. Although you have not smoked a cigarette in 10 years, you still have a higher risk of developing lung cancer than someone who has never smoked, but your risks are significantly decreased than if you had continued smoking.

Why is it so difficult to quit smoking?

So, with all of the negative health impacts that are known to be associated with cigarette smoking, why would we continue to smoke?

In one word: nicotine.

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Nicotine is the active ingredient in tobacco and what addicts us to smoking in the first place. It is an organic compound known as an alkaloid and can be found in the leaves of several species of plants, although the main route of consumption is through tobacco. It can also be found in the nightshade, or Solanaceae, family of plants, including tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines (eggplant) and peppers. While nicotine by itself is not carcinogenic, it does contribute to apoptosis by inhibiting UV-induced activation of cell death, a process known to interfere with your body’s ability to destroy potentially cancerous cells.

When smokers try to cut back or quit smoking, they experience withdrawal, a rather unpleasant process whereby the brain triggers a cascade of symptoms designed to drive us to consume nicotine. For most smokers, quitting cold turkey is not an option. The withdrawal process is much too unpleasant and difficult to overcome. However using a nicotine replacement therapy while withdrawing from nicotine has shown to be a successful alternative and has helped many people quit for good.

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Have you had success quitting smoking? Care to share how in the comments?

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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