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When you quit smoking, what happens?
This is something many people who can’t kick the habit might fear. But the truth is, the hype around the withdrawal symptoms is nothing compared to the immediate and drastic changes you’ll start to notice.
There are a ton of obvious reasons why I gave up smoking, but here are the nine biggest, most life-changing things I’ve noticed.
Oh, and just a little disclaimer: this is not a “do not smoke” campaign…I have no problem with smokers. it’s just me telling you my results.
When You Quit Smoking What Happens?
1.) You smell great
To me, cigarettes used to smell like a steak fresh off the grill. People would walk by me while smoking and I would salivate.
After quitting for only a few months, cigarettes started to smell weird – like musty old chemicals. I realized this is what my breath, clothes, car, hair and fingernails smelled like to other people for almost 10 years of my life.
Now, I don’t have to apologize for the smell when someone gets into my car. I’m not accidentally burning holes through my clothes, and I don’t have to go through hourly grooming rituals just trying to smell smoke-free.
2.) You might find yourself in way better shape
Smoking really slowed me down. If I had a cigarette (just one) any time in the day before going to the gym, breathing and working out was harder and I’d quit more easily.
Since quitting smoking I can run faster for longer amounts of time and have TONS more stamina. I can take deep, full breathes and am in seriously better shape.
3.) You will no longer get sick constantly
As a smoker I coughed so much, I just thought it was part of living life. I also was getting really sick with a cough or cold every few months.
Now, I have been healthy for an entire year and my smoker’s cough is gone. Staying in shape and getting things accomplished is so much easier without being shut down by illness every few months.
4.) You’ll stop obsessing over the next cigarette
As a smoker, my life was ruled by the next cigarette. When can I get outside to smoke again? If I go somewhere, or do something, how will I schedule in time for a cigarette?
I was always concerned people would find out about my addiction and carried around mints and perfume so no one would find out about my dirty deeds.
Now I don’t have to think about any of this. An entire space in my brain is free to think about other things. When I wake up in the morning, the thought of having a cigarette or the ‘Quit Smoking’ to do list item burned in my brain has finally vanished.
5.) People might be attracted to you more
Studies show that the worst thing you can add in an online dating profile is that you’re a smoker. In fact, when surveyed, 9 out of 10 people would not date a smoker. Which makes sense. Not to be morbid but, would you want to fall in love with someone and then watch them kill themselves?
Smoking is a deal breaker for quite a few people. Who knows- you could be missing out on the love of your life because of it. Why narrow your options?
Every time I dated a non-smoker, they’re were constantly irritated I smelled strange and was indulging in an unhealthy habit.
Being a smoker felt like being in a cult where I could only date people of my kind. Because of the ‘smoking cult’ many of my friendships had been formed over smoking.
I wondered what my smoking friends and I would have in common after I quit. It turned out that both smokers and non-smokers were attracted to my self-control and impressed with my will to quit.
6.) When you quit smoking what happens? No more constant guilt or self disdain
Non-smokers are almost unbearably disdainful and judgmental of smokers. It was unpleasant to always be on the other end of annoyed glances and pissed off eye rolls every time I lit up.
As a smoker, people like to remind you all the time that “smoking is bad for you’” (as if you didn’t know).
There is NO need to tell smoker this. They have heard it. It’s in the back of their brain every second of every puff. It was always on the back of mine. The thought of cancer, gum disease, or my family’s disappointment in me nagged at me constantly.
Now, I don’t have to be guilt tripped by ‘Anti-Smoking’ commercials and the people who comment on my habits.
I just don’t have to think about any of that stuff AT ALL.
It’s like ending a dysfunctional relationship. You might miss it for the first couple of months, but after that you wonder why you were even bothering with the hassle in the first place.
7.) You’re not burning away your money (literally)
Even as a pack a week smoker, I was taking $15 and literally setting it on fire. Not only that, but I was paying hard-earned cash to kill myself slowly. That’s CRAZY.
I now stash those funds away in a special bank account. The $60 a month I would have spent on smoking now goes into an investment fund. Thanks to compounding interest, it will amount to $21,234 in twenty years.
8.) Your senses are suddenly in technicolor
I didn’t realize I was numbing my senses until they starting coming back. It took a few months. Suddenly, smells started to really hit me again. Oceans and flowers have become seductively fragrant and my food gusts with flavor. I didn’t even know I was missing out.
9.) When you control yourself you control your reality
“What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do.” Aristotle (384 BC — 322 BC, Greek philosopher and polymath)
Quitting smoking may have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it is definitely the best thing i’ve ever done.
And exerting this will-power and control over my actions has helped me dictate what I do and ultimately, my fate.
The more I am able to control my actions and my thoughts, the more powerful I become and the more I am able to shape the world around me. I know, I know. It sounds like a scene from the Matrix. But it’s the truth.
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame- you alone are responsible for the quality of it and making yourself the person you want to become.
UPDATE: After posting this, a lot of you asked how I finally managed to quit. For me, there really was one magical solution, that didn’t involve any gross nicotine gum or e-cigarettes.
It is called The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allan Carr. It really did miracles for me. Maybe it will for you too.
Stop Smoking Timeline:
When you quit smoking what happens to your body?
You are free! Now is time to celebrate.
After 1 hour…
Your heart rates and blood pressure drops and your circulation begins to improve. You will be so glad not to have a cigarette in your mouth. You will feel triumphant that you made this healthy decision for yourself and the rest of your life.
After 12-24 hours…
You will be relieved your mouth doesn’t taste like an ash tray. Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal meaning your muscles and organs like your brain and heart begin to receive enough oxygen and can work properly again.
You might feel the slight ‘itch’ of barely noticeable nicotine withdrawals. Your realize the physical withdrawals of smoking are actually quit minor are are nothing to be concerned about. You also know that any nicotine substitutes like vaping or gum will only make it worse.
Smell and taste improve because the nerve endings begin to regrow. You might cough, but this is your body healing itself and discarding of any junk in your lungs.
After 2 days…
The majority of nicotine has left your system, meaning the hard part is over.
You hit the gym, drink water, chew some gum, or enjoy a healthy meal and realize all of these things are more pleasurable now that you’ve quit.
After 3 days…
You will be glad your clothes and hair don’t smell like toxic smoke anymore.
After 7 days…
You made it this far, which means you are statistically nine times more likely to stop smoking successfully forever. Any cravings decrease significantly.
After 2 weeks…
You can smell and taste better. Food is more delicious. You have higher physical performance and lung capacity.
After 1 month…
You will enjoy how clean your yard, car, and life suddenly is without cigarette butts strewn about.
After 9 months…
Your heart attack risk drops by half. You will realize you haven’t even thought or cared about smoking at all for a few months, and time has flown by. You’re finally one of those ‘non-smokers’ everyone speaks of.
After 1 year…
You will notice how nothing in your wardrobe has cigarette burns in it anymore, and rejoice!
After 5 years…
Your heart attack and cancer risk is that of a non-smoker. You might see someone smoking on the street or TV and think ‘That looks awful. Why are they doing that?”
After 10 years…
Your lung cancer risk is now that of a non-smoker. You will look remarkably younger and feel healthier than if you hadn’t quit. If you smoked a pack day, you saved $18,250 or $27,849 invested in a broad market index fund.
After 15 years…
Your heart risk disease is now that of a non-smoker. If you were a pack a day smoker, you saved $27,375 or $52,587 invested in a broad market index fund.
You quietly thank yourself for getting that habit out of your life once and for all.
Motivational Quotes to Stop Smoking
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. Buddha (c. 563 BC — 483 BC, founder of Buddhism)
For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories. Plato (424/423–348/347 BC, philosopher in Classical Greece)
I am, indeed, a king, because I know how to rule myself
Rule your mind or it will rule you. Horace (65 BC — 8 BC, Roman lyric poet)