If you’ve been a long-term smoker, you may think “the damage is already done. So why bother quitting now?”.
Wrong! Your body has an amazing ability to heal itself, and it happens quicker than you think. In fact, the health benefits of quitting smoking begin in as little as twenty minutes after the last cigarette and continue to improve!
While some of these changes are subtle, others will be more obvious:
- After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal.
- After 8 hours the oxygen and carbon monoxide levels in your body return to normal.
- After 1 day your lungs work better and you can breathe more easily. Your chances of heart attack and stroke start decreasing.
- After 2 days your senses of taste and smell start returning to normal. Nicotine by-products start leaving your body.
- After 3 days your lung capacity continues to improve and breathing continues to become easier.
- After 7 days blood flow to your hands and feet improves.
- After 1 month your blood circulation improves and you start experiencing more energy.
- After 1-3 months your lung function increases by up to 30% and your energy level continues to increase.
- After 1-12 months you cough less, your sinuses clear, you aren’t as short of breath.
- After 1 year your risk of dying from a heart attack is reduced by 50%.
- After 2 years your body’s ability to heal itself after illness and injury greatly improves.
- After 3 years your risk of heart attack is about the same as someone who has never smoked.
- After 5 years your risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat and bladder are all reduced by 50%.
- After 5-15 years your risk of stroke is now the same as someone who has never smoked.
- After 10-15 years your risk of developing heart disease is the same as someone who has never smoked.
- After 15 years your life expectancy is now the same as someone who has never smoked!
Quit Smoking Resources
The following is a list of helplines and resources. New resources are continually available, and the contact information for some of these resources may change. For the most up-to-date information, do an internet search for “quit smoking programs.”
- Provincial Smokers’ Helplines
- British Columbia (1.877.455.2233)
- Yukon (1.866.221.8393)
- Nunavut (1.866.877.3845)
- Northwest Territories (1.867.920.8826)
- Alberta (1.866.332-2322 and alberta.quitnet.com)
- Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (1.877.513.5333)
- Prince Edward Island (1.888.818.6300)
- Quebec (1.866.527.7383)
- Newfoundland, Labrador (1.800.363.5864)
Resources For Youths
- Quit4Life (www.quit4life.ca) is a Health Canada program for 12 to 18 year olds.
- Smoke-FX (www.smoke-fx.com) is Ontario-based and has many useful resources to aid in quitting smoking as well as an advocacy tool kit.
- Smoking Zine (www.smokingzine.org) is a University of Toronto smoking cessation program for teens.
- Inventory of Canadian Tobacco Cessation Programs and Resources (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/pubs/tobac-tabac/ictcpr-rrpcrt/index-eng.php). A listing of smoking cessation programs that are available nation-wide or province-wide.
- Health Canada (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca). Health Canada has numerous resources to help smokers quit. Search the “It’s your health” section of the Health Canada site or use the A-Z index to find out about the latest programs and information they offer.
- Canadian Cancer Society (www.cancer.ca or 1.888.939.3333)
- Canadian Lung Association (www.lung.ca)
- Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
- National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health
- Non-smoker’s right association (www.nsra-adnf.ca)
- Physicians for a smoke-free Canada (www.smoke-free.ca)
- Conseil québécois sur le tabac et la santé (www.cqts.qc.ca)