Smoking Cessation - Health Benefits

Health Benefits

Many of tobacco's detrimental health effects can be reduced or largely removed through smoking cessation. The health benefits over time of stopping smoking include:

  • Within 20 minutes after quitting, blood pressure and heart rate decrease
  • Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood decrease to normal
  • Within 48 hours, nerve endings and sense of smell and taste both start recovering
  • Within 3 months, circulation and lung function improve
  • Within 9 months, there are decreases in cough and shortness of breath
  • Within 1 year, the risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
  • Within 5 years, the risk of stroke falls to the same as a non-smoker, and the risks of many cancers (mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix) decrease significantly
  • Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half, and the risks of larynx and pancreas cancers decrease
  • Within 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease drops to the level of a non-smoker

The British doctors study showed that those who stopped smoking before they reached 30 years of age lived almost as long as those who never smoked. Stopping in one's sixties can still add three years of healthy life. A randomized trial from the U.S. and Canada showed that a smoking cessation program lasting 10 weeks decreased mortality from all causes over 14 years later.

Another published study, "Smoking Cessation Reduces Postoperative Complications: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis," examined six randomized trials and 15 observational studies to look at the effects of preoperative smoking cessation on postoperative complications. The findings were: 1) taken together, the studies demonstrated decreased likelihood of postoperative complications in patients who ceased smoking prior to surgery; 2) overall, each week of cessation prior to surgery increased the magnitude of the effect by 19%. A significant positive effect was noted in trials where smoking cessation occurred at least four weeks prior to surgery; 3) For the six randomized trials, they demonstrated on average a relative risk reduction of 41% for postoperative complications.

Read more about this topic:  Smoking Cessation

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