I finally did it. I gave up cigarettes after years of smoking, and I feel incredible.
What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking?
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up one morning and decided it was time to quit smoking. My lungs hurt from coughing so much and my gums were bleeding, and I knew it was because of my nasty addiction. I have been a smoker for nearly 15 years of my life, which at 32 meant I spent almost half my life puffing away. Part of me knew it wasn't gonna be easy, but I didn't have a realistic grasp on exactly how hard it was going to be giving up smoking.
The first day of not smoking went pretty well—nothing but a minuscule headache, no big deal. The next day was a tad bit harder, but nothing unbearable, just a slight cough and a little congestion. However, it was the third day, as well as the next week or so, that made me realize why I should have never smoked to begin with.
That third day I coughed so hard I was gagging with every cough. I couldn't even catch my breath a few times I had one of my coughing spells. Not to mention the fact that my hands felt numb and my head was spinning non-stop. My doctor said this happens to some people when they quit smoking. This was just part of getting rid of the toxic fumes I put into my body for so many years. It is caused by the improvement in your circulation and oxygen levels. So my body was fighting to get back to where it was before I decided to fill it full of smoke, tar and nicotine. I also found myself wanting to snack constantly, it's almost like I needed a new addiction to end this one. Which I nipped in the bud around the fourth day of binge eating. I was doing this to be healthier, and overeating junk food would have defeated the whole purpose.
While I felt depressed and crazy for the first week without cigarettes. I did eventually start to notice how much better I was breathing. Even caught myself taking almost too deep of a breath because my body was not used to it. I can still hear my chest rumbling a little because my body is still releasing the years of toxins I have been putting into it. I even sweat it out in my sleep, the smell is horrible. I have had to change my bed sheets nearly every other night since I gave up smoking. Smoke in general stinks to me now—all these years of smoking, and I never realized how truly hideous it smelled.
Food even taste better to me now, smoking does a little number to your taste buds. All that tar and nicotine on your tongue keeps you from being able to fully enjoy your food. I even realized I didn't like the taste of certain foods like soda, salty chips, or really spicy food anymore. About a week after I quit, I grabbed a diet Dr. Pepper and almost gagged when I drank it.
Smoking kills millions of people a year, and I am so glad I quit. I used to swear up and down that smoking was okay and that it wasn't harming me. I now realize how ignorant of a statement that was to make. Your lungs don't work to their full capacity when your filling them with poison. I know that one day we all have to die—I just don't want to die from suffocation because my lungs don't work anymore from years of smoking.
Side Effects of Smoking
Smoking can cause
1. Smoking can do so much damage to your gums, teeth and just your whole mouth inside and outside. It can cause bad breath (halitosis), staining caused by the tar and nicotine and can even do irreversible bone damage and loss. Which can cause your teeth to rot and eventually fall out.
2. It does a number on your appearance as well. It can cause wrinkles, dry skin, brittle hair. Stains your nails, fingers and even the corners of you mouth. It also makes you smell awful, and no amount of perfume can help take away that musty smell.
3. Morning cough with an excessive amount phlegm, it can even cause bloody mucus sometimes. Which is an awful way to start your morning.
4. Lack of oxygen which leads to poor circulation and we all know that's what keeps us alive and healthy. In order for your heart and brain to work we have to have good blood flow to those areas. Smoking even slows down the blood flow to your tongue, which explains why food taste so much better when you quit.
5. Extreme fatigue, nobody likes feeling tired all the time and smoking can cause that. I can tell you from first hand experience that smoking and exercise don't work good together.
6. Smoking can even change the appearance of your house. If your curtains or walls are white, smoke stains them, smoke for about a month and then look at them. If it can do that to your walls imagine what it is doing to the inside of your body.
7. Emphysema which gradually damages your lung tissue over time, specifically the alveoli (tiny air sacs).
8. Different types of cancer, the main one most people associate with smoking is lung cancer.
9. Heart disease, most people don't realize just how bad nicotine by itself is to their hearts. You add the tar, and smoke to that mix which is what you get from a cigarette and it equals one big disaster.
10. Eventually death, I know not everyone who smokes dies from it, but smoking is far from healthy. Plus death is a possibility for those who smoke because of what smoking can cause.
There are no good side effects of smoking only bad. We even trick ourselves into thinking smoking relaxes us. When the truth is it constricts our blood flow, which actually puts stress on our bodies. While it may suck to quit smoking at first, it's worth it. Once you do quit you will feel so much better, just remember you are worth it. Smoking doesn't have to control you. Good luck!!!!
Things to Help You Quit
Here are a couple of things I used to help me quit, I hope you find them helpful.
1. A lot of times quitting can be easier if it's done through a slow process. Which includes using "stop-smoking aids" such as Nicorette or other types of nicotine alternatives. These aren't safe for everyone, if you have high blood pressure I recommend going another route.
2. Exercise instead of grabbing a cigarette. I would walk around the house or jump on my elliptical machine for a couple of minutes anytime a craving hit. Yoga is great too, yoga works both your mind and your body.
3. Drink lots of water and healthy 100% fruit juices. At first, I thought this tip was somewhat weird, but it actually worked for me. It helped me keep from overeating as well by keeping me full.
4. Spend more time doing fun things with your family and friends. Boredom was a big reason I found it easy to smoke so much, so keeping busy helps with that. It's also great to have an amazing support system.
5.Start a money jar and save the money you would have spent smoking. You will quickly see how much money you are saving by not smoking. Which can be a good motivator to stay away from cigarettes.
6. Chewing gum, preferably sugar-free and hard candy like peppermints are great for cravings. When you smoke one of those habits we pick up is having something in our mouths and hands constantly. I found gum helpful to chew on instead, another good thing about sugar-free gum is that it cleans your teeth.
7. Pick up a new hobby, find something to keep your mind and hands busy. Start writing, read a few amazing books, the possibilities are endless. Besides now you have the extra funds to help you put towards that hobby.
8. Get rid of your ashtrays and have your house thoroughly cleaned. You'd be amazed how much this can help. It's harder to quit smoking when everything in your house smells like smoke.
9. They even have a medication now that you can take to help you stop smoking that you can ask your doctor to prescribe.
10. Meditate, and maybe even try hypnosis. Some people may think this is silly but I personally found it very helpful. Meditation clears your mind and hypnosis helps you focus.
There are hundreds of other different ways to help you quit. These are just a couple that I found worked for me and I few other people who have quit as well. This is our health and it's our place to make sure we take care of ourselves. Smoking may seem like a great way to handle stress, or pass time but it can come with some might big consequences.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Ed on April 26, 2019:
I gave up
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on May 13, 2013:
Thank you guys for commenting.
ketage from Croatia on May 13, 2013:
Gratz on quitting smoking. A very motivational hub :) with good tips, I go buy myself some chewing gum.
Insightful Tiger on April 25, 2013:
Thank you for this hub. This was one of my bad habits, but I feel so much better by not smoking anymore. Congratulations!
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on September 26, 2012:
Thank you guys, I am happy to say I beat my nasty habit still have a little bit of the nicotine smell in my sweat at night but I guess that's normal considering how long I smoked.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 26, 2012:
A bad habit that many people fail to understand the consequences of glad you beat smoking
v1p3r on September 21, 2012:
Michelle Liew from Singapore on September 21, 2012:
It was so hard for you, but you've managed to really beat the habit! Glad that it worked out! Thanks for sharing your own experience and raising awareness of how bad smoking is! Sharing this via FB and here as well.
Faith Reaper from southern USA on September 19, 2012:
Mary - this is really great that you have written on such from your personal perspective as well as research studies! Excellent. Tobacco is surely one of the hardest addictions to quit. Both my son and daughter smoke (not in the house!), and have both quit for long periods, but then seem to pick it back up again. I am really concerned for my grandchildren, although my son goes outside to smoke, it is still on his clothing, etc., for the third-hand smoke. My husband and I have never spoked, which just seems strange that our children do smoke. I am going to share this with my son and daughter. Who knows? If you have even helped just one person here, dear one, this hub has served its purpose! God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on September 18, 2012:
Thank you guys for commenting.
whowas on September 18, 2012:
Congratulations and well done. Stopping smoking needn't be such a big deal once you are ready to quit. Most of the addiction is simple brainwashing by large, money-grabbing corporate interests that don't mind killing you to get your cash.
I quit over three years ago now and it has been easy all the way. I know I'll never smoke again.
Welcome to the world of the happy, breathing people!
Esrom Aritonang from Indonesia on September 18, 2012:
I like your hub! Many writer only tell how to stop smoking, but you gave me different perspective based on your experience. I did not know that stop smoking will caused head spinning, depress, etc. Keep on your healthy life. Thanks
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on September 13, 2012:
Thank you so much teaches12345.
Dianna Mendez on September 13, 2012:
I am so impressed with your being able to quit. I hope you bounce back to a normal lifestyle soon. It's not easy to do, but keep focused and it will pay off.
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on September 12, 2012:
Thank you guys I feel so much better.
Angela Blair from Central Texas on September 12, 2012:
Congrats to you, my friend. Your points are all true and well taken and I can't begin to argue with any of them. I have, however, smoked for some 60 years (one can only imagine how bad I smell and how rancid my house is) and probably won't quit because it's the only vice I have left -- and everyone needs at least one vice intact when they leave this planet. Hope you know I'm kidding you and how very proud I am that you've beaten a nasty habit -- and I'd encourage everyone to do the same. As for my part...well, I'll probably be looking for my last cigarette when the first shovel of dirt hits me in the face. Good going, girl friend, what you've accomplished takes a lot of courage and intestinal fortitude! Best/Sis
kjforce from Florida on September 12, 2012:
prettynutjob30...Congrats Girl ! You are making the right moves towards better health..if I might suggest to you..fill the tub with warm water ( add a bit of baking soda) light a candle scent of your choice and sip on a glass of ICE COLD water...keep adding HOT water to the tub ...soak for about 30 minutes
notice the colour of the water when you get out !!!YUK..that draws the nicotine out through the pores of your body....keep up the great work and thanks for sharing...
Mary (author) from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet. on September 12, 2012:
Thank you for the comment and I hope it works out for you chewing gum seems to help me.
Georgie Lowery from North Florida on September 12, 2012:
Congratulations on quitting! I hope I'll soon be on that path with you. I'm 41 and have smoked non-stop since I was 14. Great Hub, thank you for sharing! :)