For smokers, quitting cigarettes is the single most impactful step you can take to improve your all-round health, and the benefits can be felt almost immediately.
Quit Leaders Rita, Conor and Sharon shared with us the ups and downs of their journeys and they have proven that, no matter what age or how heavy a smoker you are, it’s never too late to quit.
Here’s what they had to say about the benefits of quitting:
Sharon Brophy, Co. Dublin: “I noticed health benefits within the first week, which really surprised me. I was a terrible sleeper – dreadful sleeper. And my sleep improved.
When I took a deep breath I felt like I had actually filled my lungs, for the first time in years. I had not experienced that as a smoker.”
Rita Conway, Co. Dublin: “All my health issues come from smoking. I had to stop. Since quitting my breathing has improved, I am definitely sleeping better and I don’t feel as anxious.
When you smoke you’re always chasing that next cigarette, so when you stop that leaves you. It gives you more time, strangely enough.”
Conor Hiney, Co. Laois: “Back before we started the programme I had a really bad chest. When I would go to bed the first thing I’d do is take a deep breath when I lay down, the wheeze completely went.
Also, when I gave them up first, I started to taste food better… I was asking was there something different in the dinner, but there wasn’t, it was my sense of taste getting better!”
Here are just some of the ways quitting cigarettes positively impacts your health and daily life:
After 20 minutes: Your circulation will improve, and your blood pressure and heart rate will get lower. This immediately reduces your risk of a heart attack.
After 8 hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood goes down, and the oxygen level rises.
After 48 hours: Carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas, has now left your body. Your heart and lungs don’t have to work as hard to pump oxygen around your body. Your sense of smel