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AFTER YOU QUIT SMOKING, CHAPTER II...

Immediate rewards

 

Within 12 hours after you have your last cigarette, your body will begin to heal itself. The levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your system will decline rapidly, and your heart and lungs will begin to repair the damage caused by cigarette smoke.

Within a few days, you'll probably begin to notice some remarkable changes in your body. Your sense of smell and taste may improve. You'll breathe easier, and your smoker's hack will begin to disappear, although you may notice that you still cough for a while. And you'll be free from the mess, smell, inconvenience, expense, and dependence of cigarette smoking.

Immediate effects

 

As your body begins to repair itself, instead of feeling better right away, you may feel worse for a while. It's important to understand that healing is a process - it begins immediately, but it continues over time. These are really symptoms of the RECOVERY process (see "Withdrawal Symptoms and Activities That Might Help).

Immediately after quitting, many ex-smokers experience "symptoms of recovery" such as temporary weight gain caused by fluid retention, irregularity, and dry, sore gums or tongue. You may feel edgy, hungry, more tired, and more short-tempered than usual and have trouble sleeping and notice that you're coughing a lot. These symptoms are the result of your body clearing itself of nicotine, a powerful addictive chemical. Most nicotine is gone from the body in 2-3 days.

It's important to understand that the unpleasant after-effects of quitting are only temporary and signal the beginning of a healthier life. Now that you've quit, you've added a number of healthy productive days to each year of your life. Most important, you've greatly improved your chances for a longer life. You've significantly reduced your risk of death from heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and several kinds of cancer - not just lung cancer. (Cigarette smoking is responsible every year for approximately 130,000 deaths from cancer, 170,000 deaths from heart disease, and 50,000 deaths from lung disease.)

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS -ACTIVITIES THAT MIGHT HELP

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