Quit Smoking Benefits Between Two Weeks and Three Months

Physical Improvements You Might See During the First Few Months After Quitting

Heart rate line and the hand
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While the benefits of quitting smoking are just getting underway, between two weeks and three months, major physical improvements have begun.

Quit Smoking Benefits Between Two Weeks and Three Months

1)  Heart Attack Risk Begins to Drop and Circulation Improves
Nicotine increases the level of adrenaline in a smoker's bloodstream, and this in turn elevates blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict and heart rate to increase.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States today, and the number one killer of smokers. Smoking cessation alleviates the stress cigarette smoking places on the heart and circulatory system quickly, which is great positive feedback for new ex-smokers.

2)  Lung Function Increases
While improvements vary significantly from one person to the next because they are dependent on overall lung health, many ex-smokers will experience better lung function (defined as forced expiratory volume in one second) and less bronchial sensitivity during the first few months of smoking cessation.

3)  Lung Function Decline Slows or Stops
Researchers believe that smoking cessation stops the decline in lung function for most ex-smokers, including pathological and inflammatory changes that occur in the lungs due to tobacco smoke.

In cases of advanced emphysema, lung decline may not be halted following smoking cessation, but its progress will be slowed due to quitting.

Physical Withdrawal from Nicotine is Subsiding

The worst of the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal begin to let go between two weeks and a month smoke-free. Following that, the focus shifts to learning how to decipher and reprogram the psychological urges to smoke that are associated with daily life.

From getting up in the morning, to eating a meal, to dealing with a difficult event or celebrating a happy one, the activities in our lives trigger psychological cues to smoke.

It is important to note that an urge to smoke originating in your mind can cause a physical reaction in your body, such as a tightening in the stomach or neck. It can be easy to misread these cues and think you are still in the midst of physical withdrawal long after nicotine has been cleared from the body.

Pay attention to the thoughts running through your mind smoking urges surface. They will help you diagnose the cause (trigger) and from there you can choose an appropriate response.

For instance, if you are feeling stressed, take a breather and go outside for some fresh air. Or, if you're hungry, have a snack. As smokers, we learned to respond to just about everything with a cigarette. As ex-smokers, we must learn to respond in healthier (and more accurate) ways.

An Educated Quit is a Successful Quit

Education about what to expect when you stop smoking is a necessary part of a successful quit program.

When you know what may be coming as you move through the process of recovery from nicotine addiction, you'll be better able to maneuver the bumps along the way without losing your balance.

Throw yourself into learning everything you can about nicotine addiction, and the process of quitting tobacco. It is a priceless investment in your future.

More Reading:

Next: Quit Smoking Benefits: 1 to 9 Months


National Institute on Drug Abuse. Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products. Updated May 2016.

National Center for Biotechnology Information. Improved Patient Outcome with Smoking Cessation: When is it Too Late?. Published May 11, 2011.

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