Regardless of your age and how long you have been smoking, the impact of quitting smoking is huge and profound. While it can be a struggle to break free from an addiction to nicotine, it’s worth it for emotional, physical, and even financial reasons. Your body is designed to heal itself, and when you stop pouring smoke and poisonous chemicals into your body, it starts working on repairing the damage done.
Physical Side Effects Of Quitting Smoking
Within half an hour after your last cigarette, your body begins to change. Your heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. Within eight hours, the amount of nicotine in your blood drops by half. Smoking pours carbon monoxide into your bloodstream, which gets in the way of oxygen absorption. After eight hours even this has been cut in half, so your brain begins to function at a higher level because more oxygen can reach your neurons.
Within a day, your chances of a heart attack have dropped by half. In a few days, your lungs will be stronger and clearer. After a few weeks, you may notice you’re able to exercise without getting winded as easily — without having increased your exercise level. At this point, you will be past the hardest period of withdrawal.
After a year, your chances of heart disease will be cut in half.
Shortness Of Breath After Quitting Smoking
Ironically, a few weeks after you quit smoking, you may experience shortness of breath. This is because as a smoker, you were used to taking deep breaths to inhale cigarette smoke. Since you aren’t doing this regularly, your body can begin to adapt. Your lungs will be repairing themselves. This can cause a sensation of tightness in your chest, and sometimes an itchy sensation. Bear with it; your body is simply repairing the damage done.
Coughing After Quitting Smoking
Cilia – fine hair-like projections in your lungs – act to protect your lungs from toxins. Smoking damages them. As they repair themselves now that you’ve quit, they begin to clear toxins. This causes some former smokers to develop a cough, even though they never experienced this during the time that they smoked. It isn’t common, but it does happen, and may last a couple of months. It will pass – and although it can be annoying, remind yourself that your body is dumping toxins… or help it, by accelerating the detoxification process at one of our detoxification health retreats.
Sore Throat After Quitting Smoking
Some former smokers experience a sore throat after quitting. This may start within a few days of quitting smoking, and may persist for several weeks.
Chest Pain After Quitting Smoking
Many smokers experience chest pain after they quit. This happens as your lungs repair themselves. While it’s wise to consult a physician if you are in discomfort, this is not an unheard-of issue. It will go away over the course of several weeks.
Coughing Up Mucus After Quitting Smoking
Again, this condition happens to some ex-smokers but not all. You may find that you cough up phlegm for several days or weeks after you quit. This is part of your body’s process of cleaning toxins out of your lungs. In this case, the toxin is the residue left over from being subjected to large quantities of nicotine. Bear with it, it does end.
Weight Gain After Quitting Smoking
Weight gain is a common side effect of giving up your nicotine habit. It’s wise to plan ahead when you decide to quit. Don’t replace smoking with food. Instead, make a point of adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. While the cravings for a cigarette can be powerful immediately after you quit, they can be beaten. Look for alternatives to food that will take your mind off them. Start exercising instead of eating. As long as you don’t substitute an unhealthy habit like snacking on candy when you quit smoking, there’s no reason to expect serious weight gain. Some of our clients even lose weight while they quit.