How Smoking Affects the Body
Quitting smoking reaps immediate rewards for your health. Your blood pressure and pulse are reduced after only 20 minutes from your last cigarette. Within 24 hours the carbon monoxide levels in your system return to normal. In as little as two weeks your risk of a heart attack decreases and your lungs begin to function more efficiently.
Health Consequences of Smoking*
- Cigarette smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals; hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.
- Cigarette smoke can cause serious health problems, numerous diseases, and death.
- People who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk for disease and premature death.
- Although the health benefits are greater for people who stop at earlier ages, cessation is beneficial at all ages.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk for coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Coronary heart disease risk is substantially reduced within 1 to 2 years of cessation.
- Smoking cessation reduces respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The rate of decline in lung function is slower among persons who quit smoking.
- Smoking cessation reduces the risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
- Smoking cessation by women during their reproductive years reduces the risk for infertility. Women who stop smoking during pregnancy also reduce their risk of having a low birth weight baby.