If you smoke, you probably already know it’s not good for your body. Your parents tell you. Your friends tell you. Your partner tells you. Every day, you probably tell yourself. But quitting’s not easy.
What’s more, quitting is good for you regardless of when or how you quit. It can provide some huge benefits at any age. Need some motivation? Read on below to find out more.
It can be hard to motivate yourself to make significant life changes when you won’t see immediate results. But the thing is, when you quit smoking, you will notice some pretty huge benefits right off the bat.
The CDC explains that just twenty minutes after smoking, your heart rate drops. 12 hours later, the levels of carbon monoxide in your body also return to normal. And impressively, two weeks to three months after you quit smoking, your risk of having a heart attack will go down and your lungs will work better. Can’t argue with that!
The Surgeon General of the United States published its most recent report on the effects of smoking in 2014. It offers a comprehensive look at the impacts of smoking, citing studies and journal articles. For the report, a group of experts wrote up their findings, which were then evaluated by peer reviewers and later, a group of more than 20 scientists and experts.
The findings of the report are summed up in a series of fact sheets on a variety of topics. There’s a ton of compelling information in these, but the one on cancer is particularly convincing. It explains that while there’s no way to know which smokers will get cancer, ones who quit will reduce their risk of mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancer in half within five years. And within ten years, your risk of dying from lung cancer goes down by half.
The CDC’s fact sheet on cardiovascular disease puts forth some interesting data around the benefits of quitting on your heart, as well. It states that although smoking rapidly causes heart and blood vessel damage, the good news is that repairs can happen quickly. Within a year of quitting, your risk of having a heart attack will go down, and within five years, your risk of having a stroke goes down to “nearly that of a nonsmoker.”
The chance at a longer life can be a compelling reason to quit because it puts smoking’s health effects in real numbers. And you’re never too old: According to the World Health Organization, the benefits from quitting are enjoyed by smokers of all ages. Smokers who quit at about 30 add nearly ten years to their lives, while ones who quit at about 40 add nine years. Smokers who quit at 60 will add three years to their lives, which is significant. The WHO also explains that if a smoker has a heart attack and then quits smoking, their chance of having another heart attack goes down by 50%.
There are several more health benefits of quitting aside from the ones listed above. And it’s never too late. For more information and help quitting, head to Tobacco Free Forida’s website.
Nandita Raghuram is the Content Director at Studio@Gizmodo. She tweets here.