The health benefits of stopping smoking

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Health Assured team

06 March 2023

We know that smoking is bad for us. From the disturbing images that decorate the back of cigarette packets to the undeniable facts linking smoking to a range of serious health conditions—the damage is almost inevitable.

But quitting smoking can be hard when it’s become woven into your routine. It’s not just as simple as making the decision to quit. Your brain and body get used to having nicotine around, which is what makes it so difficult to break the habit.

Nicotine is the main addictive drug in tobacco. When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine gets rapidly delivered to the brain, stimulating the release of feel-good chemicals. When this habit loop is created, it changes the way your brain functions over time. You become reliant on nicotine, and it feels like you need it just to be okay.

Quitting smoking means a withdrawal of nicotine, causing uncomfortable feelings and cigarette cravings. While this might be a difficult challenge to overcome, it is possible. And not only is it possible—but the health benefits of stopping smoking make it more than worth it. For smokers, this is one of the most important decisions you can take to improve your life. Let’s dive deeper into some of the benefits below.

Increases life expectancy

Half of smokers die early from smoking-related diseases like heart disease and lung cancer.

If you stop smoking at 30, research shows you’ll live 10 years longer. Even when you stop smoking at a later age, you can still add years to your life.

Stopping smoking reduces the risk of premature death by disease. And it’s never too late to make those changes. Whatever age you decide to quit, the health benefits of stopping smoking happen almost instantly.

Improved sense of taste and smell

After just 48 hours, your sense of taste and smell will improve. Cigarettes contain hundreds of toxic chemicals. It doesn’t take long for your sense of taste and smell to recover. When you quit smoking, you’ll soon start to notice your taste buds come back to life and feel the flavours in your food once again. You might also notice that your voice quality improves as your voice box gets a break from the cigarette smoke.

Brighter skin

Blood circulation will increase within the first few months you stop smoking. This is because you’re no longer consuming nicotine, which causes the blood vessels to narrow. These blood vessels are vital for effectively delivering oxygen and nutrients as well as removing toxins and carbon dioxide from tissues in the body.

As a result, of this increased circulation skin quality improves. The skin gets more nutrients, elasticity improves, as does water retention. You’ll also be preventing the onset of facial ageing and wrinkles that smoking can bring.

Improved fertility

Stopping smoking improves a woman’s ability to conceive naturally and through IVF. It Quitting smoking reduces the risk of miscarriage and premature birth, increasing the chances of you having a healthy baby. By not smoking you’ll also reduce the risk or delivering a low birthweight baby, a small-for-gestational-age baby and eliminate adverse effects of smoking on foetal growth.

Reduced cancer risks

Stopping smoking reduces the risk of a range of serious health conditions. In terms of cancer, it’s one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk. If you already have cancer, it may also improve your prognosis. Stopping smoking reduces the risks of 12 different types of cancers:

  • Bladder
  • Cervix
  • Kidney
  • Liver
  • Mouth and throat
  • Stomach
  • Voice box
  • Acute myeloid leukaemia
  • Oesophagus
  • Colon and rectum
  • Lung
  • Pancreas

 

Support for stopping smoking

Many people try to quit smoking on their own. But research shows that the most effective way of quitting is with a little bit of support. The NHS offer a free Stop Smoking Service that makes it three times more likely you’ll quit for good.

Health Assured can also support you with the effects of stopping smoking and help you improve your wellbeing. Get in touch with us for more information.

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