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The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Using tobacco, regardless of how, is detrimental to your overall health. Smoking can lead to a multitude of long-term health complications. While many know that smoking damages the lungs, it also negatively affects the entire body. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States.

Additionally, about one in 20 American adults use vaping products regularly as an alternative to tobacco. This also is a cause for concern. Although vaping is marketed as the ‘safer’ smoking option, vaping also causes a multitude of health complications that damage the lungs and heart and impact blood circulation.

Contrary to the popular belief that it will take a long time to see health improvements after quitting smoking, health benefits begin as little as one hour after the last cigarette and continue to improve over time by lowering heart rate, blood pressure and risk of developing cancer.

How Does Smoking Tobacco Affect the Body?

Smoking tobacco can lead to a variety of long-term and immediate health complications. These complications include, but are not limited to:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Lowered immune system
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Smoking-related cancers
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Poor vision
  • Wrinkles
  • Yellow fingers
  • A dull sense of taste and smell

What Cancers Does Smoking Tobacco Cause?

Tobacco use is one of the leading causes of many types of cancer as well as death as a result of cancer. People who smoke tobacco or are subjected to secondhand smoke (environmental tobacco smoke) have an increased risk of developing the following types of cancer:

  • Lung
  • Larynx (voice-box)
  • Mouth
  • Esophageal
  • Throat
  • Bladder
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Stomach
  • Pancreatic
  • Colorectal
  • Cervical
  • Acute myeloid leukemia

What Happens After Quitting Smoking?

As soon as a person stops smoking,the body begins to reverse negative health effects on the lungs and heart in the following ways:

  • After one hour: As soon as 20 minutes after the last cigarette is smoked, the heart rate decreases to a normal level. Blood pressure begins to decrease as well.
  • After one day: The risk of a heart attack and heart disease begins to decrease due to lowered blood pressure. Oxygen levels also increase.
  • After one month: Lung function begins to improve. As the lungs continue to heal, lung capacity improves and former smokers will notice a decrease in coughing and shortness of breath.
  • After one year: The risk for coronary heart disease decreases by 50 percent.
  • After 5 years: Arteries and blood vessels begin to widen, lowering the risk of blood clotting and stroke.
  • After 20 years: The risk of smoking-related diseases such as lung disease and cancers decreases to that of a person who has never smoked.

At Southwest General Medical Group, Inc., our primary and specialty care physicians are committed to working closely with you so that you can fully understand your options when it comes to quitting smoking. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, visit our website.