Smoking. A curiosity turned into a habit. A bad habit not easily corrected because of the addiction to nicotine. So how can you stop smoking completely? Can this addiction be reversed?

The simple answer is commitment. A strong personal commitment is crucial for your success at beating nicotine addiction. If you think it’s too late to quit consider these facts about your body’s amazing ability to quickly bounce back once you quit.

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Smoking?

20 Minutes – In the first 20 minutes without smoking, your body is already healing itself. Your pulse and blood pressure drops back to normal.

8 hours – Only half the amount of nicotine and carbon monoxide remains in your blood. Carbon monoxide is a chemical in cigarettes that crowds out the oxygen in your blood. This causes dizziness and unwanted headaches because it limits the amount of oxygen that circulates to the brain.

At this stage, you may already feel some early cravings and doubts, which could last 5-10 minutes. That’s normal. Distracting yourself until the feeling passes will help you get through this stage. Try reading, doing your workout, or simply chewing gum or sipping water can help a lot.

12 hours – Halfway through your first day, your carbon monoxide level is back to normal and your heart will thank you as it doesn’t have to pump so hard to try to get enough oxygen to your body.

24 hours – Finally, your first day without smoking. Congratulations! Today, you have significantly lowered the chance of getting a heart attack from when you were still smoking. The cravings will still be there, just keep going. Plan ahead and have distractions lined up to help you through this stage – things that can keep you physically and mentally busy. You’ll see, you’ll be able to get through this day without even thinking about puffing smoke.

48 hours – Day 2, treat yourself to something tasty. On this day, your sense of taste and smell has gotten sharper as your nerve endings start to heal.

To help you get started, download this worksheet from the American Heart Association to help you plan to quit smoking. You may also want to contact Sunshine Community Health Center for smoking cessation assistance.Image of smoking cessation worksheet

As quick as the body heals itself with positive results minutes after quitting smoking, some unpleasant things happen right away too. Making quitting a very serious battle. Anxiety, irritability, headache, insomnia, fatigue, and hunger, are some of the symptoms one gets from the withdrawal of nicotine use. Years of smoking have made your body weak and gunk has accumulated in your lungs. You’ll need to be patient to fully detoxify your body. Multivitamins and more exercise in the first week of quitting smoking can help your body recover from the damaging effects of smoking and nourishes your body making it easier to combat withdrawal.

The first few weeks of quitting are the most difficult. Getting support from family and friends can help a lot. Always remind yourself of the reasons why you want to quit smoking and keep pushing for that goal. Stay motivated by rewarding yourself whenever you end each week without smoking.

Avoid temptations when you are stressed. Find other things to keep your mind occupied. Many people smoke whenever they feel anxious, sad, or stressed. It is up to you to plan for and fight these demons and say no to those cravings. Try talking with someone supportive whenever you feel down or exercise. It is a great way of keeping you preoccupied and healthy at the same time.

Is Vaping a Safe Way to Quit Smoking?

Although a study has shown that e-cigarettes or vaping have limited effectiveness in smoking cessation, the repercussions that come along with it are much higher. Recent reports from the CDC show lung injury outbreaks amongst e-cigarettes and vape users.

Forty-nine states in the United States have reportedly found cases of lung injuries from vaping. A compound found in many vape products, THC, is suspected to be causing lung problems in teens and adults alike.

The CDC advises smokers and vape users to weigh the effects of e-cigarettes, tobacco, and vape products in smoking cessation. No tobacco and nicotine products are safe for the body. There are many ways to stop nicotine addiction. Speak with your physician about the different methods of nicotine therapy and their effects.

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