Benefits of Quitting Smoking
Stopping smoking can benefit your health, your social life as well as your wallet. Quitting can also have a positive impact on your overall appearance. From improved oral health to less stress here are the ways that quitting smoking could help you.
Health Benefits of Stopping Smoking
Did you know the health benefits of quitting smoking are felt within the first hour? If you’re curious to know what happens after you quit smoking, we have the answers.
Quit Smoking Timeline of Health Benefits
Your body transforms when you stop smoking.
- 20 minutes
Your body deigns a series of changes that continue for years. Your resting heart rate reduces (a key indicator of your overall fitness level)
- 12 hours
The carbon monoxide level in your blood reduces dramatically. You have improved oxygen levels in your blood.2
- 2 to 12 weeks
Your heart attack risk begins to reduce. Your circulation improves. You will find exercise much easier. Your lung function improves.
- 1 to 9 months
Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems get better as your lung function is increased.
- 1 year
Your heart-attack risk reduces by half.
- 5 years
Your heart-attack risk falls to about half that of a smoker.
- 10 years
The risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. The risk of heart attack falls to same as someone who has never smoked.
Visible Physical Benefits of Quitting Smoking
1. Smooth Skin
Smoking can lead to the premature development of wrinkles, not just around your face, but also in other areas of your body, including your inner arms.
This is because the chemicals found in cigarette smoke can damage collagen and elastin, which are the parts of your skin that give it a youthful look and help it to bounce back.
On top of that, the nicotine in cigarettes may cause narrowing of your blood vessels, which can mean less oxygen and nutrients are able to get to your skin.
The good news is that once you quit, you can delay wrinkling and slow down the facial ageing process. While you won’t get rid of all your wrinkles, you may notice they appear far more slowly and your complexion may start to look healthier, brighter and smoother. Starting a good skincare routine can also help.
2. Improved oral health
One of the more noticeable side-effects of smoking is yellow teeth. This happens because the nicotine and tar in cigarettes stain the enamel on your teeth, turning it yellow or even brown. Smoking has also been found to be a major risk factor in causing gum disease, and even increasing your risk of losing teeth.
However, dentists agree that you can make big improvements to your oral health after you quit smoking. After quitting, ex-smokers may see an improvement in gum disease after just one year, meaning they have less chance of losing teeth. Quitting also prevents teeth from becoming more stained and will result in fresher breath and a heightened sense of taste.
If you’ve quit and want to improve how your teeth look, you could also try adding whitening products into your oral care routine. Make sure to visit your dentist too, who can check the overall health of your mouth, give your teeth a deep clean, and provide useful tips on how to improve the look of your teeth after quitting.
3. Thicker Hair
Just as your skin needs proper blood flow to look healthy, so does your hair. As smoking restricts blood flow, your hair follicles may be deprived of the oxygen and nutrients they need for healthy growth.
The toxins from cigarette smoke can also lower estrogen levels in women, potentially resulting in thinning hair. As if all that isn’t enough, smoking has also been linked to getting early grey hairs. By quitting smoking, you may prevent premature ageing of your scalp, and slow down any hair loss associated with smoking.
4. Nicer Nails
Improving the appearance of your nails might not be at the top of your reasons for quitting smoking, but it can be a happy side-effect. In much the same way as smoking stains your teeth, the nicotine and tar found in cigarettes can also stain your nails and the surrounding nail bed. Smoking can also block the flow of oxygen to your fingernails, leaving them discoloured. Fortunately, this staining may stop as soon as you stop smoking. You may even be able to watch the staining grow out with your natural nail growth, giving you a visible marker of your quit journey.
5. Improved fitness
Many people worry about weight gain when quitting smoking, so adding healthy eating and a fitness routine into your quit plan can help ease these worries.
Not only can exercise help to reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms, it can also help you to get into shape and feel more confident. What’s more, due to the way quitting smoking can improve your circulation and lung function, you will probably find working out much easier, and that your overall fitness performance is improved.
You'll also experience improved fertility when you stop smoking.
Social Benefits of Quiting Smoking
There are also a range of social benefits that come with quitting. Although these factors might not immediately spring to mind when we think about the advantages of stopping smoking, improvements to your personal life can make a big difference to your overall wellbeing.
It’s common for smokers to report that nicotine helps to relieve stress and anxiety. This is due to the fact that nicotine withdrawal often produces symptoms like anxiety and irritability that are relieved by smoking. However, far from helping to relieve stress, smoking actually heightens anxiety and tension, and instead people’s stress levels decrease after they stop smoking.
The health of those around you
There’s perhaps no greater reason to quit than protecting the health of your family. Smoking puts those closest to you at risk of a range of potential illnesses, including cancer, heart disease, meningitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
To learn more about how smoking affects others around you click here.
Every cigarette you don’t smoke means more money in your pocket. The average smoker spends around $20 a day on cigarettes, which is a whopping $600 a month.
Calculate your smoking savings with our quit smoking calculator.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare - Tobacco
- Department of Health - Why quit smoking?
- Tobacco in Australia - Health and other benefits of quitting