Everyone knows that smoking is dangerous and bad for the body and health. Yet more than 10 million people in Italy smoke. But what happens to our bodies when we stop smoking cigarettes? Studies have reconstructed the changes in our bodies and the ones at risk of disease as well.

In some articles, we have explored the damage that smoking causes, what are diseases that smoking can cause, and also why we smoke and why we don’t quit. Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta have shed light on what happens in our bodies once we stop smoking.

This study reconstructed step-by-step benefits from the first 20 minutes to the next 15 years.

  • 20 minutes later: heart rate and blood pressure are reduced;
  • 8 hours later: blood carbon monoxide level decreases, oxygen level increases;
  • 48 hours later: senses of smell and taste improve;
  • 72 hours later: bronchi relax;
  • 2 weeks to 3 months later: circulation and respiratory function improve;
  • 1 to 9 months later: cough and shortness of breath decrease, lungs are cleaner, and you feel more energetic;
  • 1 year later: the risk of heart attack is halved compared with that of a smoker;
  • 5 years later: the risk of stroke becomes comparable to that of a nonsmoker; the risk of being affected by throat, mouth, esophageal, and bladder cancer is halved;
  • 10 years later: the risk of contracting lung cancer is halved compared with smoking, while for pancreatic cancer the risk becomes comparable to that of a nonsmoker;
  • 15 years later: the risk of a heart attack becomes equal to that of a nonsmoker, as does the likelihood of dying.

It is important to remember that these are general figures that depend very much on how many cigarettes one has smoked over a lifetime, for how long, and finally on one’s general health status. Clearly, there are other risk factors, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and genetic factors that affect the risk reduction of quitting smoking.

In conclusion, ‘quitting’ smoking is always a good initiative worth striving for if you have not done so, before by avoiding starting smoking.

This post is also available in: Italiano


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