It is no secret that smoking takes a toll on your health, but despite knowing the negative consequences of tobacco, many people continue to smoke.
In the United States, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death among adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is estimated that every year, one in five or 480,000 deaths are related to smoking.
Quitting the habit is by no means easy, which is why most people keep it up, but there are some amazing benefits to be reaped in as little as 20 minutes from the time one stops smoking.
Here's a timeline of what happens to your body after you quit smoking:
20 - 30 minutes
Your heart rate begins to return back to normal in as little as 20 minutes after your last cigarette puff. You'll start to feel more sensations in your hands and feet because blood pressure also begins to lower itself, improving overall circulation.
8 - 12 hours
Smoking increases the presence of carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that can be fatal in high doses. Within 12 hours of your last cigarette, the body will start to cleanse itself of the excess carbon monoxide, increasing oxygen levels. You might even start to breathe a little better.
According to Medical News Today, the drop in blood pressure means your risk of heart disease begins to decrease after 24 hours. Improved oxygen levels also mean that physical activity, even walking or climbing stairs, becomes easier to do.
Smoking tampers with the nerve endings that facilitate smell and taste. After 48 hours, these nerves start to heal and you'll start to experience heightened sense of smell and taste.
Your lungs will start to feel less overworked by the third day, and you'll find yourself taking deeper breaths. However, you may start to go through nicotine withdrawal as the levels in your body deplete. Symptoms include mood changes, severe headaches, and cravings.
That's not all, you'll continue to experience significant changes after the first month...