The Benefits Of Quitting Smoking & Why It's Never Too Late
Quitting smoking is one of the most challenging things you can do - but it's also one of the most worthwhile.
According to the NHS, the cases of smoking-related deaths continue to fall, with a drop of 9% from 2009 to 2020.
However, there were still 76,000 deaths attributable to smoking in 2020, showing that the problem still exists, and many people lose their lives yearly.
Tobacco consumption dramatically increases your risk of developing numerous cancers and heart disease, with heavy smokers around 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer than a non-smoker (NHS).
Every time you light up, you put your life - and the lives of others around you - in danger.
With technology giving us so many ways to kick the habit for good, there's never been a better time to free yourself from tobacco and look forward to a healthier future.
If you're sick of cigarettes dominating your life, stick with us because we're about to reveal the many benefits of quitting smoking.
No amount of technology can protect people from the health risks of smoking
There are many reasons to quit smoking, but the health benefits will always be the most important.
Our lifespans have significantly increased over time, which is attributable to advances in medicine and technology.
Look at this eye-opening Statista report, and you'll see just how different things are. In 1765, the average lifespan was just 38 years old, but that increased to 67 in 1950. Today, the average human will live to be 81 years old, which shows us that medicine and healthier food options allow people to live longer.
However, another report shows that smokers live ten years less than non-smokers, making their average lifespan 71 years old (Brunswick Park).
Simply put, the average UK smoker has the same lifespan as people in the 1960s. Despite all the medicine available now, smoking causes numerous health risks and significantly shortens a person's life expectancy.
Stopping smoking is the only way to give yourself a better chance at life, and the good news is it's never too late.
The health benefits of quitting smoking
There are many benefits of quitting smoking, and your body begins healing as soon as you stop. From reducing your risk of cancer to preventing heart disease and improving your physical activity, let's look at each in more detail.
Prevent lung disease
It's important to understand that smoking will inevitably impact your lungs, as tar, carbon monoxide and hundreds of chemicals can cause permanent scarring. When this happens, you'll never be able to reverse that damage, but quitting before it gets to that point can make a big difference.
Unfortunately, emphysema is a progressive disease that will continue to worsen over time. The key to survival is an early diagnosis, but most people don't know they have the condition until it's at stage two or three.
The average life expectancy for someone with progressive emphysema is around five years, but you can prevent it by quitting smoking as soon as possible.
Decrease your risk of lung cancer
Lung cancer is one of the most debilitating conditions, and quitting smoking at a young age can prevent it. Most lung cancer cases occur between the ages of 65 and 80, but it can also impact people in their 40s (Cancer Research).
Sadly, Cancer Research also states that just 10% of people with lung cancer survive for ten or more years from their initial diagnosis. These survivors are often younger people with the condition, so heavy smokers are more likely to lose their battle with the disease.
Prevent heart conditions
According to the British Heart Foundation, heart disease accounts for a quarter of all deaths in the UK, and smoking is the leading cause of any form of heart disease. As cigarettes thicken the blood, quitting can reduce your risks of clots and improve your circulation.
Cholesterol is also a problem, and while stopping smoking can't remove it, you can slow down the fatty deposits that might form in your arteries.
Lower risk of other cancers
While lung cancer is often the first smoking-related disease that people think about, smokers are more at risk of developing other forms of cancer, including:
Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
Smoking can cause irreversible damage to numerous major organs, and the longer you smoke, the more likely you are to put your health at risk.
Better physical health
Physical activity is so important, and people finally recognise that exercise can prolong their life expectancy and lower the risk of numerous diseases. According to the World Health Organization, five million deaths each year are preventable if people get their recommended exercise.
While quitting smoking doesn't immediately make you more active, it enables you to exercise more frequently, increasing your blood oxygen levels.
You can be more active without losing energy quickly, and your muscles become stronger when these are higher.
The physical and emotional benefits of stopping smoking
While your health should always be your top priority, quitting smoking has plenty of physical and emotional benefits.
It's no secret that smoking creates a significant dent in your monthly budget, with the average pack of 20 cigarettes now costing between £8.80 to £13.50.
For a person that smokes 20 cigarettes a day, that's a minimum yearly spend of £3212 on the habit. When you think of what you could do with that money instead, you'll see why so many people decide to stop smoking.
Let's look at some of the other advantages of stopping smoking.
Smoking impacts your body's production of elastin and collagen, which are essential for keeping your skin looking young. When you don't produce enough of either, you'll look old before your time, with many smokers suffering from sagging skin and premature wrinkles.
You're also more at risk of appearing pale or skin discolouration, and many smokers develop dark circles under the eyes, which are hard to eliminate (DR Zoumalan).
Better teeth & breath
Smokers often have yellow teeth because nicotine and tar can cause staining. While some people don't mind this, others find it impacts their confidence and will spend a fortune on teeth whitening treatments.
Bad breath is also a significant concern, and the smell from your cigarette lingers long after you put it out. Many smokers wake up with a dry mouth and have to chew mints during the day because halitosis is an embarrassing problem.
Improved social life
There was a time when smokers could socialise with their friends in the local pub and not worry about stepping outside to light up.
However, the government's restrictions now mean that bars, shops, restaurants and offices are now off-limits for smokers.
If you're the only person in a social group who smokes, you'll often miss meaningful conversations because many non-smokers don't like being around cigarette smoke.
When your life revolves around your next cigarette, you'll notice that your work suffers because it's always on your mind.
Quitting can stop you from defining your life around the habit, meaning you can enjoy going on trips or watching that movie marathon with your friends.
Protecting others from second-hand smoke
One of the worst things a smoker can do is risk the lives of non-smokers. Non-smokers that are regularly around cigarette smoke are up to 30% more likely to develop lung cancer (CDC).
According to Ash, children are the biggest victims of second-hand smoking, with significant health complications occurring annually.
22,000 New cases of asthma and wheezing
120,000 Diagnoses of middle ear disease
40 Sudden infant deaths
Pets are also at risk of developing lung, mouth or nose cancer, as well as lymphoma, but you can protect your family (and those of the furry kind) if you quit smoking.
What happens when you quit smoking?
The day you decide to stop smoking is the day your life truly changes.
That first step where you commit yourself to change will always be the most important, and the days, months and years to follow will significantly improve your health and daily life.
Let's take a look at what to expect when you ditch cigarette smoking.
The first minute
When you smoke your last cigarette and enter your first minute of becoming a non-smoker, it's common to feel nervous and on edge because you know you're making a major lifestyle change.
Light smokers probably won't notice the initial benefits of quitting, but heavy smokers might feel a drop in their heartbeat and blood pressure.
In just one day of not smoking, you can decrease your risk of a heart attack, and your blood pressure will drop to normal levels. You might also notice that simple tasks such as climbing the stairs become easier.
The third day is always exciting because that's when you begin to get your sense of taste back. Ok, you might notice that your favourite curry just got a whole lot hotter, but it's a sign your body is recovering.
The bad news is that this is usually when nicotine withdrawal takes its toll, and day three is when you begin to feel moody and develop headaches.
After a month, you'll probably feel more able to exercise without getting out of breath as your lung capacity will begin to recover. Males with erectile dysfunction will also notice an improvement as the circulation starts to kick back into gear.
As your circulation and lung function increase, you'll be able to take on more demanding activities, such as regular cardio and endurance-based exercise.
Nine months without tobacco smoke and your lungs will be well on their way to healing, and those tiny hairs (also known as cilia) will be able to perform their infection-fighting job more efficiently.
You'll have fewer chest infections, a stronger immune system, and a decreased chronic bronchitis risk.
The one-year mark deserves a celebration, so don't be afraid to take that long-overdue holiday! You'll have plenty to celebrate because your risk of heart disease will decrease by a whopping 50%.
The toxins in cigarettes are anything but gentle on your body, and they can cause issues for many years. However, if you stay smoke-free for five years, your arteries will begin to widen and allow better blood flow.
As the years go on, your risk of a stroke will continue to decrease regularly, and after ten years of being smoke-free, you'll cut your chance of throat, mouth, pancreatic and lung cancer in half.
The 15-year mark means you're practically free of developing coronary heart disease through smoking because you'll now have the same risk as a non-smoker. It's the same with pancreatic cancer, which will undoubtedly be a weight off of your shoulders.
Finally, after 20 years of being smoke-free, you'll have the same risk of lung cancer as a non-smoker. Also, you'll be able to enjoy more exercise and have a healthier lifestyle all around.
Smoking cessation is easier than ever. Why not try it?
So, are you ready to quit.
In the past, quitting would be a life-changing decision as there were limited options available, but electronic cigarettes are making it easier to go smoke-free.
While they're not currently available on the NHS, specialists recommend them as a stop-smoking treatment because they're more effective than other forms of nicotine replacement therapy (GOV.UK).
Vaping is much safer than smoking because there's no tar or carbon monoxide. Furthermore, the chemicals found in cigarettes or rolling tobacco are more hazardous than those you might find in e-liquids.
There are so many e-liquids to choose between, and former smokers can appreciate the authentic taste of tobacco without those nasty chemicals masking it.
Or, you can choose fruit, dessert or drink flavours and experiment with lower nicotine levels, reducing your reliance on an addictive substance safely.
Better still, the cost of vaping can be as low as £300 per year, which is significantly less than buying cigarettes. At 88Vape, we offer cost-effective vape kits and accessories so everyone can enjoy a healthier alternative to smoking at great prices.
Going smoke-free can save your life
Besides potentially saving your life, going smoke-free has many other benefits, including improved wellbeing, more confidence and the opportunity to save money.
With the government's initiatives to become smoke-free by 2030, many people will finally have the support they need to kick this devastating habit.
There's no better time to save your life, and many of our customers soon discover that they prefer vaping to smoking.
Why not try it today and make this positive life change for yourself and others around you?