After Quitting

Quitting tobacco takes strategy, effort and plenty of patience. While smoking cessation is not an easy task, at least initially, you can make the process less painful and set yourself up for long-term success through education and preparation. Remember: the discomforts you experience as you heal from nicotine addiction are all temporary, but the freedom you’re working to achieve will last you a lifetime. Smoking cessation is worth every bit of work it takes.

After sometime, some quitters get back to their smoking habit due to temptation and persistent nicotine carving. Some may slip and puff “just one cigarette”, while others experience total relapse. In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, smokers who quit are at greater risk of relapsing in the first three months of becoming smoke-free.

Within 12 hours after you have your last cigarette, your body will begin to heal itself. The levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system will decline rapidly, and your heart and lungs will begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke.

Within a few days, you’ll probably begin to notice some remarkable changes in your body. Your sense of smell and taste may improve. You’ll breathe easier, and your smoker’s hack will begin to disappear, although you may notice that you still cough for a while. And you’ll be free from the mess, smell, inconvenience, expense, and dependence of cigarette smoking.

Immediate effects

As your body begins to repair itself, instead of feeling better right away, you may feel worse for a while. It’s important to understand that healing is a process – it begins immediately, but it continues over time. These are really symptoms of the RECOVERY process.

Immediately after quitting, many ex-smokers experience “symptoms of recovery” such as temporary weight gain caused by fluid retention, irregularity, and dry, sore gums or tongue. You may feel edgy, hungry, more tired, and more short-tempered than usual and have trouble sleeping and notice that you’re coughing a lot. These symptoms are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful addictive chemical. Most nicotine is gone from the body in 2-3 days.

It’s important to understand that the unpleasant after-effects of quitting are only temporary and signal the beginning of a healthier life. Now that you’ve quit, you’ve added a number of healthy productive days to each year of your life. Most important, you’ve greatly improved your chances for a longer life. You’ve significantly reduced your risk of death from heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and several kinds of cancer – not just lung cancer.

Your life is worth the work.

Healing the Mind

Knowledge is Power

Nicotine Withdrawal

Relapse Prevention

Relapse Prevention

Stress Management


Public Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes

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