How your physical and mental health benefits when you quit smoking


When you’re trying to motivate yourself to quit smoking, one of the things that can help is to understand all the benefits that wait for you on the other side. Improving your physical and mental health is just one of the many benefits of quitting, but it’s perhaps the most important. Let’s take a look at what you have to look forward to when you quit.

Physical benefits of quitting smoking

Smoking has a significant impact on your body. Once you quit, you will notice physical changes almost immediately. According to the Cancer Society of NZ:

After a day, your lungs will start clearing of mucus and debris.
After 2 days, your sense of taste and smell will improve.
After 3 days, you’ll find it easier to breathe as your lungs continue to clear. You’ll find yourself more energetic.
Between 2-12 weeks after quitting, the circulation in your body will improve.
After 3-9 months, your lung function improves by around 10%, which means coughing and wheezing will get better and you may find it easier to perform cardiovascular activities (like walking and running).

Quitting smoking also significantly reduces the risk of developing life-threatening cancer, heart and lung disease. On average, smokers die 14 years earlier than non-smokers, and smoking causes the premature deaths of around 4700 New Zealanders every year.

Mental health benefits of quitting smoking

While the physiological benefits of quitting are relatively well-known, research has been emerging in the last few years that demonstrates just how much smoking can impact mental health. 

In some circles, smoking can be seen as a positive tool for mental health. Smokers explain how smoking relieves stress and anxiety. The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal – irritability, depression, anxiety – are often attributed in error to reinforce the mental health benefits of smoking.

However, a recent UK study challenges this. They discovered that quitting smoking improved all facets of mental health in their study group, including anxiety, depression, positivity, stress levels, and overall quality of life. You can read more about this study in Medical News Today.

The researchers believe there may be links between smoking and poor mental health, suggesting that people with poor mental health may be more likely to take up smoking as a coping mechanism and that smoking may help to cause or exacerbate mental health problems. They’re excited about what further study may reveal.

The benefits don’t stop there. Quitting smoking can also help improve the lives of your children and those around you, it can save you money, and it can help you feel better about life. There are so many good reasons to quit – what are you waiting for?

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