One of the many wonderful things about deciding to quit smoking is that you start to reap the benefits of quitting immediately. It doesn’t matter how long you have smoked, as soon as you quit, your body begins to repair itself. Generally speaking, within just 6hrs of quitting your heart rate has slowed down to a healthier rate, and your blood pressure becomes more stable. Just one day after quitting, oxygen can travel more freely to your heart and muscles, and you may notice your fingertips are actually warmer.
After just one week, your sense of taste and smell will improve, and heighten your pleasure associated with using these senses. Antioxidants such as vitamin C, which fight diseases and help to protect you from cancer, will be more prevalent in your blood. As time goes by, you’ll notice a host of other benefits such as easier breathing, more energy, and more money in your bank account!
You might be most moved by the fact that when you quit smoking you are protecting your loved ones from the harmful effects of secondary smoke. Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 toxic chemicals of which more than 50 are known to cause cancer. Babies and children are at the most risk from the health risks associated with second hand smoke and
even if you don’t smoke near them, they can still be exposed to the harmful chemicals from the smoke that is absorbed by your hair, skin and clothes.
So when you quit smoking you immediately lower the chance of your children; developing asthma, having lower functioning lungs, getting ear infections, and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and meningococcal disease.
At Wellcare we are passionate about helping people quit smoking. We want to lower your risk of heart attack, stroke and lung cancer, and we want you to feel great and enjoy life. Our Quit Smoking Clinic is run by a dedicated team of experts who tailor a program to your individual needs. Everyone quits smoking their own way, and we will work with you to find the best path that works for you.
Some frequently asked questions we get by patients starting their quit smoking journey withus:
1) Will I put on weight when I quit smoking?
First of all we should point out that you would have to put on an estimated extra 40kg of weight to equate to the risk of heart disease from smoking. The average amount of weight gained for people quitting smoking is only 4-5kg over 5 years. Many people actually lose weight and some people have no significant change in their weight when they make this positive lifestyle change.
Smoking is a highly addictive habit and while on their journey to quit, some people report that they feel more hungry. Eating can be used as a reward system to satisfy a withdrawal craving, and it can also mimic the habit of putting something in your mouth. Also, as we mentioned above, your sense of taste and smell will improve, which makes food taste better.
But never fear, there are tried and tested ways to avoid weight gain while quitting smoking:
- Add more exercise into your routine. You should really aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day. Examples of moderate exercise include; walking quickly or jogging, swimming, cycling, and playing casual team sports, etc. Any more than that is a bonus, and will be even more helpful in keeping weight gain at bay.
- When you get a craving try putting some safe non-edible object in your mouth. People have reported this simple substitution for putting something in your mouth can be a powerful way to control cravings. Reported oral substitutes include; toothpicks and sugarless gum.
- If the urge to snack is overpowering, eat some raw veggies or other low fat and low sugar treats. Keep these healthy alternatives stocked up and readily available, and don’t keep sugary temptations in the pantry.
Will I get grumpy or depressed when quitting smoking?
Smoking is a highly addictive habit and when you quit you experience withdrawal from the nicotine drug. You may also feel a sense of loss due to the removal of a sense of reward and pleasure from your routine. These factors can combine to make you feel irritable and depressed, and they do make it harder to quit smoking.
The clinical staff at Wellcare may prescribe some medicine to assist with the emotional effects of quitting smoking, and increasing your exercise and healthy eating are also great ways to bolster your mood during the quitting journey.
3) Should I use e-cigarettes to help me quit smoking?
There is some research to suggest that people who use e-cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, try to quit smoking more often, and are more successful. This evidence has significant limitations though, such as being survey based, and not accounting for extraneous factors that might have impacted on the findings.
Beyond the discussion around whether e-cigs (also known as vaping) do or do not assist people to quit cigarettes, the problem with e-cigarettes is that they still contain cancer-causing chemicals, and can still increase your risk of heart disease. At Wellcare we recommend other safer methods of quitting smoking.