The best way to make any big health change is by taking small steps one day at a time (see our February blogs for more tips on making small healthy changes). To start seeing improvements from quitting smoking, all you need is 20 minutes. Discover more of the benefits in store on the smoke free timeline below.
The Smoke Free Timeline
20 Minutes After Your Last Cigarette: If you quit smoking right now, you should start to see health benefits within 20 minutes. This is because your heart rates return to normal approximately 20 minutes after your last cigarette.
2 Hours After Your Last Cigarette: Within two hours of your last smoke, your blood pressure levels and heart rate return to normal. Peripheral circulation also improves so you may feel the tips of your fingers and toes get warm.
If you’re a heavy smoker, you may start to feel withdrawal symptoms at the two hour mark. These symptoms include anxiety, frustration, or tension, strong food cravings or an increased appetite, and drowsiness or insomnia.
This two hour window is a great place to start introducing healthy habits back into your life. When you feel the need to smoke again, replace your cigarette with an antioxidant-filled snack. Antioxidants help get rid of toxins in the body, which will speed up your recovery time.
12 Hours After Your Last Cigarette: Every time you inhale cigarette smoke you are being exposed to carbon monoxide, which is toxic at high levels. Carbon monoxide bonds to blood cells, making it hard for these blood cells to bond with oxygen. This can cause serious cardiovascular problems. But approximately 12 hours after your last cigarette, your blood oxygen levels return to normal and the carbon monoxide in the body decreases.
24 Hours After Your Last Cigarette: One day after you quit, your risk of a heart attack starts to drop.
48 Hours After Your Last Cigarette: After two days of no smoking, your ability to smell and taste returns. You should fully take advantage of this by indulging in some healthy natural foods that will naturally support the detox process and help you get rid of nicotine from your body quicker, therefore lowering your chances of craving more cigarettes after doing so well without them for 2 days.
How to Naturally Treat Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms
After two days of no smoking, you are well on your way to turning your life around. The amount of health and vitality you will have once you are cigarette free will be so amazing that you will wonder why you ever started smoking in the first place.
But there will be difficult times while your body adjusts to your new lifestyle. Additionally, it will need to purge out those toxins that have been inside your tissues and organs for so long. This may cause unwanted side effects. But it’s important not to give up during this time as these are signs that your body is cleaning itself out from the inside out and is all totally normal.
Three days after you quit smoking, all of the nicotine should be out of your body. You may start to experience headaches, nausea and cramping. Although the nicotine is gone, your body still has to get rid of all damage that has been done. This is why you may experience side effects.
You can support this process by feeding your body the right foods. Investing in a detox supplement can speed up the process of toxin removal and get you back to feeling better quicker.
Smokers also tend to be deficient in vitamin B12, which is necessary for production of DNA and red blood cells. Many animal based foods are high in vitamin B12. You can also replenish naturally by supplementing with green food power.
Set Your Own Smoke Free Timeline
Your physical withdrawal symptoms should dissipate two weeks after your last cigarette. If you are a heavy smoker this may take up to 9 months. To successfully get through this period, it helps to meet and achieve small goals throughout your journey.
Tell yourself that if you can make it 9 months without a cigarette, then you can make it a lifetime. During your initial stages of quitting, set small goals for every two hours if you have to.
Lungs Begin To Repair Themselves: Did you know that 9 months after you quit smoking your lungs begin to repair themselves? Whenever you think about picking up a cigarette again, think about the fact that one day there will be no sign of smoking in your lungs.
Heart Disease Risk Drops: Your heart is also improving, too. By the time you’re one year free of smoking your risk of developing heart disease is down 50 percent.
It might help you to write these changes down on a calendar so that you can see the health benefits your body is making. Start with the first day you quit. For every day after that, write down a change you have noticed. This may include having more energy or money to spend.
Write down the bad things too, such as headaches and other side effects. When you look back on these changes over the weeks, hopefully they start to dissipate and you will be able to see that you are in fact winning the fight against smoking.