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JonnyCeltics's avatar

Have you quit smoking?

Asked by JonnyCeltics (2721points) June 14th, 2008

I smoked for about 8 years, and have recently quit, going on 10 months. I have a few questions: What are the long-term effects (health-wise) for short-ish term smokers like myself? Is any irreparable? Anything I can do to better my chances of recovering the health I literally smoked away other than not smoking again?

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5 Answers

delirium's avatar

The Lung Association has a very cool little chart about this..

Reposted below:

When smokers quit, within twenty minutes of smoking that last cigarette the body begins a series of changes.

At 20 minutes after quitting:

* blood pressure decreases
* pulse rate drops
* body temperature of hands and feet increases

At 8 hours:

* carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
* oxygen level in blood increases to normal

At 24 hours:

* chance of a heart attack decreases

At 48 hours:

* nerve endings start regrowing
* ability to smell and taste is enhanced

The first year after quitting:

At 2 weeks to 3 months:

* circulation improves
* walking becomes easier
* lung function increases

1 to 9 months:

* coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases

1 year:

* excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

Long-term Benefits of Quitting

At 5 years:

* from 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.

At 10 years:

* risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
* risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
* risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:

* risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
* risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

JonnyCeltics's avatar

Do you know if your lungs regenerate? As in the tissue itself….do they stay blacker, etc?

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I quit over two years ago (I’m 49 and smoked for years) and my doctor told me that if I stayed smoke free and out of the company of other smokers my lungs would be as good as any other non-smoking 55 year old when I reached that age. He also couched it a bit by saying that there are many, many factors that play into healthty lungs. Damage done by smoking is still that: damage. Your body may be able to heal the damage but you’ll probably always have the “scar”. Someone smoking 8 months probably has a better than average chance of not suffering the effects a long term smoker who quit might. Glad you quit!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

Does the radioactive polonium and lead accumulated in the lungs dissipate?

girlofscience's avatar

Maybe, if there weren’t so many chances for the risks to decrease years after you quit smoking, I’d consider quitting now. But since it seems that 15 years after I quit, I’m almost as good as new, doesn’t seem worthwhile to quit at the current time. (I’m only 22 and plan to smoke until I’m finished grad school, which will be around 27.)

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