Throughout the world, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, causing more than 475,000 deaths annually from primary and secondhand smoke.
Although we are all aware of the dangers that smoking poses to lung health, we rarely look into how exactly the lungs heal after someone quits smoking.
The good news is that quitting at any time is beneficial to your lungs and your overall health, no matter how long you have smoked. Approximately 43 million Nigerians attempted to quit smoking in 2015, and millions more do the same thing every year. I'm going to tell you how quitting could benefit your lungs if you happen to be one of them.
Why Quitting Smoking Can Be Beneficial
There is a significantly reduced risk of lung cancer for someone who goes longer than 12 months without smoking a cigarette. The National Association of Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC) reported that individuals who have been smoke-free for a decade are 50 percent less likely to get lung cancer than someone who continues to smoke. The risk of lung cancer remains higher for former smokers when compared to someone who has never smoked or never inhaled.
It is estimated that about 4.5 percent of Nigerians give up smoking every year, but as of 2015, smoking cessation rates increased to 5.6 percent, indicating that more and more people are choosing to make positive changes for their health.
Quitting smoking is so beneficial because cigarettes contain more than 4,800 toxic chemicals, and the majority of these chemicals have adverse effects on the lungs and airways.
If one stops smoking right away, their lungs start to heal immediately. The carbon monoxide gradually leaves the bloodstream, which contributes to the alleviation of shortness of breath as well as other symptoms. There is also evidence that smoking causes inflammation of the mucous lining of the airways, and when you stop smoking, you will no longer be inhaling all the toxic substances that irritate the airways, and this will allow them to begin to heal.
In addition to reactivating the lung's cilia, which are tiny hair-like structures that cover the cell's surface, quitting also routes mucus and bacteria from the area on the lung's surface to the back of the throat, where they are swallowed. As a result, the body is able to get rid of mucus and clear the lungs.
Your lung function will significantly improve within the first month after you quit smoking, which will also increase your circulation. Typically, nine months after the cilia have been reattached, they begin to function normally again, and symptoms such as coughing have decreased as well. After ten years of not smoking, one's risk of cancers of the bladder, kidney, lungs, mouth, throat and at the base of the spine is significantly lower, suggesting that the longer someone goes without cigarettes, the better it is for their long-term health.
However, smoking poses a number of serious health risks which are not reversible even after you have quit. Emphysema, for example, is a condition that results in inflammation, narrowing, and swelling of the airways, and can cause changes to the airways that can permanently affect lung function.
Getting ready to quit
It is important that you adequately detox your lungs now if you intend to quit smoking. It is advisable to drink more water to help the body flush out toxins and other carcinogens. It is recommended that you change your diet, consume less salt and sugar, and consume more nutrient-rich foods to support the body's ability to replace healthy tissues and grow new ones. Consider also taking up a regular physical activity program. Yoga, as a particular option, is one you should consider because it teaches breathing techniques to open up the lungs.
It is never too late to stop smoking, even if you have tried several times to stop smoking before. As soon as you stop smoking, your blood pressure, lung capacity, and lung health will improve. Staying smoke-free will help you avoid symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, and conditions such as emphysema and lung cancer that can significantly reduce your quality of life or even lead to a premature death.
The lungs are a vital organ, and every time you puff a cigarette, it affects its function. When you quit smoking, you notice a wide differences in the health of your lungs. Get assistance right now and explore local resources and programs that can help you to quit smoking. It can be difficult to break this habit, so extra support could allow you to quit and remain smoke free forever.
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