Is smoking bad for you? Just a bit, but only if you consider 14 different types of cancer bad, which you might. Smoking is linked to mouth, bowel, bladder, and of course lung cancer. I don't know which of those is worse, but they all sound terrible. Cancer of the butt sounds the worst, but that's just me. Anyway, let's talk about why you should quit smoking.
How many chemicals is too many chemicals? Three chemicals? Maybe four? Burning a cigarette releases over 5,000 chemicals into your body. I know what you're thinking. "With those levels of chemicals, I might become a superhero!" You weren't thinking that? Oh well. Smoking cigarettes won't make you a superhero, but it might make you dead.
What a joke. Cigarettes aren't cool? Then why does every sexy hero in every movie, as well as every rock star who has ever lived, smoke cigarettes? It's not because they're uncool. The truth is, if you're a smoker, cigarettes are incredibly difficult to quit. In addition to the chemical addiction, there are a variety of social and cultural triggers that keep people smoking.
Quitting smoking might be easier if you understand what happens inside the body post-inhalation, and what continues to happen as one refrains from smoking. Understanding the healing process and knowing how your body will improve are some of the first steps you can take to putting down the cancer sticks.
For about 20 minutes after smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate spike as the nicotine enters your system. This time frame includes the physical sensations that people like about cigarettes, mainly the head-rush sensation. Soon after you finish your cigarette, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal.
After 8 hours, the nicotine and carbon monoxide from smoking leaves your body, and your oxygen levels return to normal. Yes, you inhale carbon monoxide when you smoke a cigarette. That's, like, the worst kind of carbon.
After a day without smoking, your lungs begin the process of healing. If you're a smoker, mucus and debris accumulate in your lungs, and after 24 hours, the body decides that it's time to start clearing things out. After 24 hours is also when the cravings will become more severe, so if you're committed, it's time to actively avoid smoking triggers like drinking coffee. Expect irritability.
After two days your senses start to improve. No, you won't become a superhero, stop asking. But, for real, food might taste better as your sense of smell and taste become more acute. This effect is due to nicotine leaving your system. That's right, quitting smoking literally makes food taste better. Interested?
Ah, the "three day hump." After three days without cigarettes, your cravings will become easier to handle, and the time between cravings will grow as the duration of your cravings declines. You might also start coughing, which is a good thing, because your body is getting rid of built-up tar.
As the weeks grow to months, your body starts to change. Your appetite grows and your metabolism begins to normalize. Your blood circulation improves, and physical activity will begin to seem easier. You might also fart a lot, as your intestines adjust to a life without nicotine.
Months after your last cigarette, your health keeps improving. The coughing and wheezing are gone, and during this time frame, the lungs start to truly repair, undoing the damage caused to respiratory cilia from inhaling tiny particles. Your sinuses also clear up, and your lungs become better at deterring infections.
After a year, the benefits of quitting become more long-term. Your risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack, and stroke drop by 50%. As the years pass, your risk of lung disease and even diabetes drop to the levels of a non-smoker. You're also less likely to lose your teeth.
Look how cool this dude is. He's cooler than a popsicle in Antarctica, and he's currently inhaling 70+ chemicals that cause cancer. But does he care? No. He wants to die young. And he will continue to want to die young, until he gets old, at which point he will want to stay alive. Anyway, don't smoke kids. The easiest way to quit smoking is to never start.