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When one looks at all the research about smoking it seems almost impossible that anyone has managed to get themselves out of the grip of the addiction. How can you if you are supposedly genetically programmed to smoke, facing content temptation by your peers or you are in the neurological grip of nicotine? However people still manage to do it.
Anybody that’s tried or who has actually managed to give up smoking can attest to the fact that it’s no easy feat, but one that can be achieved with enough motivation and support. This post aims to identify the health benefits of giving up smoking and how they could serve to motivate people to take the steps to quit for good in the New Year.
Better quality of life
New research published in the Annals of Behavioural Medicine provides evidence that quitting smoking has an effect on a person’s quality of life and relationships, in spite of the fact that many smokers believe that their standard of living will actually deteriorate.
The study looked at 1,504 smoker’s quality of life, health, emotions, stressors as well as relationship satisfaction. All these factors were measured at the start of a smoking cessation process and three years after they’ve given up smoking. What the researchers found was that, instead of a drop in quality of life as many of the smokers suspected, quality of life appeared to improve significantly in those smokers that managed to stay smoke-free for the full three years.
Improved sex life
There is research that has proven a link between impotence and smoking, as it’s believed to reduce the blood flow to the penis. Blood circulation and blood are some of the first things to improve when a person stops smoking, so it makes sense that giving up could possibly benefit men with erection problems.
Studies have also shown that women tend to more sensitive to sexual arousal if they don’t smoke.
Improved breathingThis goes without saying, but people who don’t smoke, can improve their lung capacity by 10% within nine months of quitting, which means that you may find it easier to breathe, especially when you exert yourself.
Better oral health
Tobacco can stain teeth and make it more likely that you’ll get gum disease, but giving up early enough can help make both much less likely.
Reduced stress levels
Ironically many people find it difficult to stop smoking because it helps them cope better with stress, but nicotine withdrawal between one smoke to another, actually elevates stress levels. This means that when you have another cigarette, this satisfies nicotine receptors in the brain, which provides you with a false sense of relief. This self-perpetuating ability of cigarettes is what makes them so addic-tive.
Stopping smoking also aids stress relief because more oxygen can reach your brain which can help you focus better, making you calmer and more productive.
Elevated levels of energy
Because your circulation improves after you’ve stopped smoking, this means that more oxygen can circulate through your body to your cells; this is helpful in boosting the immune system to fight of illness and can also make you feel less fatigued.
Many of these benefits may seem difficult to visualise when you first quit, as they don’t provide you the immediate relief that having another cigarette would, but within a couple of hours of giving up your body is already benefiting. This is because, within a question of 72 hours, your blood pressure returns back to normal; carbon monoxide levels in your blood will drop by almost half, improving circulation of oxygen; your chances of having a heart attack will have decreased; your sense of taste and smell will improve and your bronchial tubes will relax, which will leave you more energised. This means that you have immediate health benefits that you can look forward to and build on as you continue the smoking cessation process. If you require additional help, the NHS provides extremely helpful information for people who want to quit and also the health charity Quit.