Cigarette smoking is one of the most challenging habits to break. More than 70% of American smokers have expressed their desire to quit, yet only a small number have successfully kicked the habit. Because smoking has been proven to cause various health problems, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, now is the time to stop. Today, we’ll dive into a timeline of what to expect after quitting smoking:
How most people quit smoking
When you’re ready to quit smoking, your first step should be to talk with your doctor about the methods they recommend and which might work best for you. In general, though, here are two of the most popular approaches people do to kick the habit:
Quitting cold turkey
Quitting cold turkey is the most common way people stop smoking. It’s a straightforward method: smokers stop smoking immediately without any other special preparations. This is the most challenging smoking cessation method that, more often than not, leads to relapse.
For many people, quitting cold turkey is an exercise in futility and frustration. No matter how much willpower one has, it might not be enough to get through the cravings, irritability, and physical withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting in this manner.
Using nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is a method that helps smokers wean off cigarettes while reducing withdrawal symptoms and the risk of relapse. NRT is often done with tobacco alternatives like patches, gums, or inhalers that deliver small doses of nicotine.
Prilla stocks Rogue nicotine pouches on their site and they demonstrate how nicotine cravings can be satisfied without the addition of harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke. These pouches come in different strengths and flavors to cater to different needs and palates, making them fun alternatives.
Voke nicotine inhalers by Kind Consumer, on the other hand, are breath-activated devices that contain less than one gram of nicotine. Although they mimic the mechanism of cigarettes, they do not use heat, combustion, or vapor. Ultimately, the goal of NRT is to help people quit smoking tobacco by providing an alternative source of nicotine.
What to expect after quitting smoking
After you give up smoking, you can expect a few changes to your body. Some health benefits may immediately be felt after your last cigarette, but other long-term effects may only become apparent months or even years after quitting. Here’s how you can expect your body to recover:
After one hour
You can expect to feel relaxed, more alert, and less stressed. Your blood pressure will begin to drop, and your blood circulation will start to improve. If the urge to pick up a cigarette is so strong, CNN recommends calling a tobacco cessation hotline to get advice from a coach on how to halt the craving immediately.
After one week
After a week, you should start to feel the positive effects of quitting. You might notice that your senses of taste and smell have improved. Your body is already starting to heal from the damage caused by smoking, and your lungs are beginning to clear out the mucus and tar buildup from years of smoking. Some people may feel intense withdrawal symptoms like irritability, severe headaches, and depression.
After three months
After the first three months, you will notice some positive changes in your body: you will have more energy, better circulation, and fewer respiratory problems. You may also find yourself sleeping better at night and waking up more refreshed in the morning. By this time, the urge to smoke will be gone, and you’ll find yourself thinking about it less.
After one year
After one year of being smoke-free, you should be feeling pretty good. Your lungs will have significantly healed, while your risk of developing coronary heart disease will be cut in half. You’ll have more energy and stamina and likely feel more confident in your ability to make healthy choices. To maximize your one-year milestone, you can even complement it with a week of detox as outlined in our “How To Naturally Detoxify Your Body” post.
The road to recovery from smoking is not an easy one. However, you can overcome the habit and start living a happier and healthier life with the proper approach and support.