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What happens to your body once you quit smoking?

Smoking is a risk factor associated with a large number of medical conditions. It is said that nicotine poisoning causes one out of five deaths in men and one out of ten, in women. In spite of these evident health concerns, several worldwide research efforts point out that the global consumption of cigarettes has not decreased in any significant amount in recent years. Cigarettes bring about various diseases, but if you quit smoking in time, many of these conditions can be prevented and your life expectancy could be similar to the one you might have enjoyed had you never started smoking. You can even start experiencing the first benefits only minutes after quitting!

Only 20 minutes after you quit smoking

Cigarettes contain toxic substances that affect the endothelial tissue that covers your veins and arteries. These toxins diminish the vasodilating capacity of arteries, thus increasing blood pressure and also speeding up the formation of fatty material inside them. Smoking one to four cigarettes a day increases the risk of death from heart disease. If you stop smoking completely, only 20 minutes after the last cigarettes your blood pressure falls and reaches the level your body had before you started smoking; also, your hand and feet temperature will go back to normal.

Eight hours after you quit smoking

One of the components of cigarettes is carbon monoxide, a toxic substance that can cause irreparable harm to your body. The harmful effects of this gas are the result of a decrease in oxygen levels in tissues. Oxygen travels across the body through red corpuscles found in hemoglobin. Carbon monoxide has 240 times more affinity to hemoglobin than oxygen itself. For that reason, a smoker is more likely to suffer from lung dysfunction and oxygen shortage-related problems. Eight hours after you quit smoking, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood decreases.

About 24 hours after you quit smoking

Smoking rises considerably the risk of death from an ischemic heart condition or heart attack. It is estimated that 29% of heart-related deaths are associated with the habit of smoking. Passive smokers, those who breath tobacco smoke though not smoking it, experience 25 to 30% more risk of suffering from coronary disease. When exposed to inhaling the smoke of 20 cigarettes a day, which is very common for people living with smokers, their risk increases by approximately 60%. Only 24 hours after you quit smoking, the risk of heart attack starts to decrease.

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About the Author

Mi nombre es Emilio Vera, soy hablante nativo de español nacido en la República de Chile. Tengo experiencia en la escritura de artículos médicos y de salud en general ya que terminé el cursado de la carrera de medicina en el 2013.