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Quitting Smoking - How long till I feel healthy?

GinzueGinzue Registered User regular
edited June 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi there,

An ongoing battle of trying to quit smoking for 2 years is being won, but I want to know how long it will take until my lungs stop feeling like there is stuff in them, and my shortness of breath goes away? I smoked lightly for around 2 years, 1-2-3-5 cigs a day usually (I know not a lot but I have the immune system of a fetus) and have been clean for 4 days now, which is the longest I've quit for.

How long will it take until I see the benefits of quitting, and what are some tips for resisting smoke offers from friends / temptation ?

Thanks so much for the help.

Ginzue on


  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited May 2008
    If you don't want to smoke, and people offer you a smoke, you can tell them that you don't want to smoke. That should work most of the time. Beyond that you have to just keep in mind that you don't want to smoke, and why.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • MikeManMikeMan Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm not trying to be discouraging, but 4 days it not a lot of time.

    Keep at it, and your lungs should feel healthier eventually.

    MikeMan on
  • AndorienAndorien Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm not, and never have been, a smoker myself, but nowadays it seems that all my friends (and GF now:x) smoke. About half of smoking really seems to be the social aspects: everyone hanging out outside the building, lighting up, and just chatting about whateverthefuck. You may want to avoid that situation for a little bit, as it'll likely be a great temptation.

    Also, tell all your smoking friends that you're trying to quit, so they know not to go tempting you.

    Andorien on
  • Bliss 101Bliss 101 Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    For the first few weeks, your lungs may be feeling worse than before, because as they start cleaning up the mucus layers get thinner and the smoke-damaged epithelia become irritated. During those weeks you'll notice your sense of smell and taste changing, you sense certain aromas much more intensely. For example, I discovered I dislike the taste of beer if I'm not smoking (and I've been a heavy beer drinker forever).

    The level of nicotine addiction varies a great deal individually, but for me it went like this:

    First 2 or 3 days of week one: all I could think about was smoking and how badly I wanted a cigarette.
    Week two: pretty easy. feeling really happy about how well I was doing.
    Week 3 and the following two months: feeling a lot healthier, needing less sleep, but this is when you become extremely sensitive to the smell of cigarette smoke. And it smells so good, because now you have your sense of smell back and you really miss smoking. I'd unconsciously drift closer to smoking people on bus stops so I could catch a whiff of the smoke.
    I never made it past the end of month three. That's when things went to hell at work and I figured it was either start smoking again or go to prison for murdering my boss. This is something you need to watch out for: the urge to relapse stays just as strong for a very long time after you quit, and you can easily deceive yourself into getting back into the habit (e.g. "well I can have a smoke or two if I go out with friends"). During the third month I had dreams where I was happily flying among clouds of cigarette smoke, and felt devastated when I woke up.

    About major health benefits: five years after you quit, your risk of getting lung cancer should be close to normal population level again. Not sure about the statistics for cardiovascular diseases; I've seen discouraging papers suggesting that your veins (that are made brittle by nicotine) will never fully recover.

    Bliss 101 on
  • locopostallocopostal Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    i saw this list on a few different sites..
    what happens if you quit smoking right now?

    * In 20 minutes your blood pressure will drop back down to normal.
    * In 8 hours the carbon monoxide (a toxic gas) levels in your blood stream will drop by half, and oxygen levels will return to normal.
    * In 48 hours your chance of having a heart attack will have decreased. All nicotine will have left your body. Your sense of taste and smell will return to a normal level.
    * In 72 hours your bronchial tubes will relax, and your energy levels will increase.
    * In 2 weeks your circulation will increase, and it will continue to improve for the next 10 weeks.
    * In three to nine months coughs, wheezing and breathing problems will dissipate as your lung capacity improves by 10%.
    * In 1 year your risk of having a heart attack will have dropped by half.
    * In 5 years your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
    * In 10 years your risk of lung cancer will have returned to that of a non-smoker.
    * In 15 years your risk of heart attack will have returned to that of a non-smoker.

    of course, no idea how reliable that information is. seems to have some good sources to back it up, though.

    locopostal on
  • EdgieEdgie TampaRegistered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I very recently quit myself. It took a couple of good tries to actual do it. In the end, I quit due to lack of money and I was starting to play soccer every Sunday, and boy did I ever feel like dying. I quit about, eh, 6-8 weeks ago. I had one while intoxicated a few weeks back, but it tasted like horse shit and made me begin coughing and gagging half-way through it. Didn't even finish the whole thing.

    While most people don't live in poverty like myself, you can still use money as a great reason to quit. Now, I smoked a pack a day, Camel Lights in Florida, which ran about three and a half bucks (or more) a pack. $24 a week; $96 a month. Sometimes I'd smoke less; sometimes I'd smoke more. Going to parties/bars would *easily* cause an entire pack to be smoked throughout the night, either completely by myself or giving them out to friends. I can do so much more with $96+ a month (I don't make much) than throw it away on something that, while was 'enjoyable', is basically killing me. Huge motivation for me to quit right there.

    If you don't exercise, consider doing something. Ride a bicycle, run/jog, play a friendly sport (soccer for me). But there's lots out there, depending on where you live. Find something you enjoy doing that'll make you breath hard.

    Finally, I started eating/snacking a lot more on junk food when I quit. I was still smoking pot at the time, too, so munchies + oral fixation = yikes. Despite quitting a while ago, I absolutely love sunflower seeds. Give em a try for when you need something to do with your hands/mouth. Just keep a big bag by your computer or desk or wherever you spend time. Much, much cheaper than smoking, too. Other people have reported success with carrot sticks or celery. Both are extremely healthy and require a lot of chewing.

    Best of luck!

    EDIT: Oh, and to answer the question posed, I started feeling healthier within a week.

    Edgie on
  • ScrubletScrublet Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I'm a little concerned by the level of information in this thread suggesting that if you stop smoking, it will be as if you never smoked before. Do not kid yourself: there is a lot of debate on "how much" or "when" but the general consensus is that lungs NEVER fully heal. The irritation goes away. Repair does happen. But if you've fucked up underlying tissue then your body will simply learn to cope with the damage. So while you may feel as healthy as anyone else, there is still damaged lung under there. Lung tissue DOES NOT fully heal. Some of those sites may be backed up by reliable sources, or maybe certain information was presented in a positive light...remember, many of these sites are trying to give smokers incentive and hope to stop smoking. Nothing is more demoralizing in a "quit smoking light" than seeing a medical study that says "you've smoked this long so you're fucked."

    That being said, OP's topic. Do you drink at bars? With smokers? Stop that. For the initial period, you either need to stop going to bars, or stop drinking at them while there. I'd say somewhere between 90-95% of people quitting smoking WILL NOT keep it up while drunk if all their friends go out for a smoke break. And while most friends will respect a nonsmoker and not offer cigarettes to them, most friends (that I've seen) are willing to give cigarettes to a quitter who asks for them (especially when they're drunk themselves). If there are any habitual activities that you associate with cigarettes, find something else like coffee to associate them with instead. It is DEFINITELY ok to use lesser vices as a substitute for cigarettes, and dial your way down. Try to avoid the food substitution though...there are tons of ex-smokers who blew up on food and gave themselves diabetes (great work, guys).

    Most importantly, NEVER under any circumstance justify a smoke with stress at home, work, or any other "fuck it" excuse, or you'll never win.

    Scrublet on
    subedii wrote: »
    I hear PC gaming is huge off the coast of Somalia right now.

    PSN: TheScrublet
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I felt a hell of a lot better after about a month. I think I'm probably at about the two month point at the moment.

    My motivating factor has been a jar in which I have been putting the money I would otherwise have spent on cigarettes. At roughly £5 a pack and a pack per day, that mounts up really fucking fast. I'm probably going to buy a 360.

    Also, if you do break down and end up accepting a cigarette from someone, that doesn't mean you've failed. All it means is you're going to have to go through another couple of days of intense withdrawal. Almost everyone I know that has attempted to give up smoking has ended up being tempted into having one while drinking, then going and buying more because they think there's no point in continuing to resist. It's retarded.

    japan on
  • ruzkinruzkin Registered User regular
    edited June 2008
    I would absolutely recommend taking up a sport. As a fitness instructor, I've seen lots of folk come through my classes who smoke. After a month of training, they no longer smoke. When I ask them why, they say that they didn't want to let me down, let themselves down, or fall behind other people in the class.

    So yes, team fitness is a great motivation. You'll have a big group of friends with you all encouraging you to stay clean, as opposed to a group of friends all hanging around and chatting under a cloud of smoke.

    ruzkin on
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