be good to yourself...


What if I quit ... will I ever get better?

Smoking cessation has major and immediate health benefits for men and women of all ages. These benefits apply to people with and without smoking-related diseases. The following information is from a booklet produced by the American Cancer Society:

Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette

  • blood pressure drops to normal
  • pulse drops to its normal rate
  • body temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal

Within 8 hours

  • carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal
  • oxygen level in your blood increases to normal

Within 24 hours

  • chance of heart attack decreases

Within 48 hours

  • nerve endings start regrowing
  • your abilities to smell and taste things are enhanced

Within seventy-two hours

  • bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
  • lung capacity increases

Within two weeks to three months

  • circulation improves and walking becomes easier
  • lung function increases by up to 30 percent

Within one to nine months

  • coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases
  • cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce infection
  • the body's overall energy level increases

Five years

  • lung cancer death rate for average ex-smoker decreases from 137 per 100,000 people to 72 per 100,000 (... almost half!)

Ten years

  • lung cancer death rate for average ex-smoker drops to 12 deaths per
  • 100,000 (... almost the rate for a non-smokers and a full order of magnitude less than a smoker)
  • precancerous cells are replaced
  • other cancer rates (e.g., mouth, larynx, oesophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas) decrease as well

In addition

  • ex-smokers tend to live longer than continuing smokers
  • smoking cessation decreases the risk of lung cancer, other cancers, heart attack, stroke, and chronic lung disease
  • women who stop smoking before pregnancy or during the first three to four months reduce their risk of having sickly babies, as compared to women who continue to smoke