Sorry to say that you really are never completely out of the woods. BUT, you can return your health pretty close to a nonsmoker. Add a healthy diet and exercise to your routine and you can put your overall health above most folks. And lets face it. It's not a smoker-friendly world anymore.
As soon as you stop smoking, your heart and circulatory system (the arteries and veins that blood flows through) start getting better. Your chance of heart attack, stroke, and other circulatory diseases begins to drop. The flow of blood to your hands and feet gets stronger. Your breathing may be more difficult in the first few weeks, but should become easier a few months after your last cigarette. Quitting smoking can't undo permanent lung damage. It may, however, help slow further damage to the lungs. Your chance of getting cancer from smoking also begins to shrink. Within 10 to 15 years after quitting, the risk of cancer and heart disease is almost as low as that of a nonsmoker.
Heres some great information many of us have come to live by.
Within 20 Minutes...
Blood pressures drops
Pulse rate drops to normal
Body temperature of hand and feet increases to normal
Within 8 hours...
Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
Oxygen level in blood increases to normal
Within 24 hours...
Chance of heart attack decreases
Within 48 hours...
Nerve endings start regrowing
Ability to smell and taste is enhanced
Within 2 weeks to 3 months...
Walking becomes easier
Lung function increases up to 30%
Within 1 to 9 months...
Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease
Cilia regrow in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean lungs and reduce infection
Body's overall energy increases
Within 1 year...
Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker
Within 5 years...
Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5-15 years after quitting
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker
Within 10 years...
Lung cancer death rate about half that of a continuing smoker's
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases
Within 15 years...
Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmokers
For those of you who have already quit, use these milestones as celebration time and work towards the next milestone.
As you can see it takes a long time to remove a lot of the risk, so it's important to start now if you havent already. Quitting is not going to be any easier next week or next month. Good luck!!!!
-Eric (3.5 years non-smoker)