Can Stop Smoking Reverse Damage?
It is difficult to stop smoking because it is so addictive. People start smoking for a number of reasons including peer pressure because it looks cool or it provides stress relief. It is easy to understand the origins of these misconceptions because film studios and sporting events advertised cigarettes. Most of our older relatives started smoking as young children and inheriting the habit from family members is common.
Smoking is extremely bad for us and we all know it but giving up the habit is often difficult. People stop smoking up to fifteen times before they give it up for good so don’t despair if you keep taking up the habit after quitting. Every time we smoke we harm our lungs and long-term smoking eventually causes irreversible damage.
Fortunately giving up smoking stops the damage to our lungs and they start repairing straight away. As long as you don’t have serious lung conditions like COPD chronic bronchitis the inflammation will reduce and your lungs will heal. Most people who stop have a smoking cough which is a good sign because it shows that your lungs are clearing.
According to "NHS SmokeFree" smoking is the ‘biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK’. It is responsible for over 80, 000 deaths a year and affects one in two smokers. Smoking affects circulation, brain function, heart, lungs, stomach, mouth, throat, skin, bones and fertility. In fact, it affects your whole body negatively and not just the lungs.
Your blood thickens resulting in sluggish circulation, high blood pressure, narrow arteries and increases the risk of a heart attack. Smokers are more likely to have a stroke than non-smokers. Lung conditions such as COPD and emphysema develop in long-term smokers and lead to death if smoking continues. Stomach muscles weaken increasing the chances of stomach cancer and ulcers.
As well as bad breath smoking causes mouth cancer and damages teeth. Skin loses its lustre and looks pale due to lack of oxygen. Smoking weakens bones and is particularly bad for women at risk of osteoporosis. People who smoke risk damaging their fertility in men it reduces circulation to the penis and in women, it reduces fertility by 28%. (Source: NHS UK).
Five minutes of stress relief leads to years of ill health and poor quality of life. There are many reasons to keep trying and eventually give up.
First of all, you save money which automatically improves your stress levels and makes your bank account healthy. Your sense of taste and smell improves and your skin starts to look healthy. Breathing improves and you smell nicer. You're also more likely to conceive as your fertility returns to normal.
Your body noticeably repairs 20 minutes after you smoke your last cigarette because your pulse returns to normal. After eight hours oxygen levels return to normal and lungs start clearing after two days. Your energy levels and breathing improves after three days. Every day after you quit your body improves a little bit more. After fifteen years your risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked. (Source: NHS UK).
You are most certainly not a lost cause even if you are a long-term smoker. It is never too late to give up smoking so what are you waiting for?
By Parv Sagoo (June 2018)