The party’s over and the festive season is done, so now all there is left to do is face the cold, hard reality of our New Year’s promises and pray that we stick to them.
When it comes to smoking though it may just be that little bit easier to give up after you see how much your health can improve by kicking the habit.
Like it not, roughly 50 per cent of long-term smokers are said to die as a result from the addiction reportsThe Daily Mirror , with smokers dying an average of 10 years earlier than their non-smoking friends.
Even more disturbingly, these deaths tend to be from horrific diseases and illnesses such as lung cancer, heart attacks and strokes.
The good news though, is the body can make a pretty good recovery once you’ve quit and the chances of leading a healthier, longer life are greatly increased.
One of the main reasons why people delay kicking the habit is due to the unknown and fear of what will happen to them and their bodies once temptation has been removed.
Incredibly, the body can start its recovery process after just 20 minutes of finishing a fag, with blood pressure and heart-rate returning to their normal levels soon after.
And obviously the longer you leave it the greater the improvements, so here’s a breakdown of how your body repairs itself over time…
This is apparently one of the hardest lengths of time to resist smoking, as the withdrawal effects of nicotine leaving the bloodstream are at their strongest, resulting in cravings.
It’s also the time when anxiety and ‘stress’ levels are felt even more, but actually the perceived increase in ‘stress’ is actually the feeling of craving a cig.
Unbelievably still, non-smokers and ex-smokers are supposed to have lower levels of stress than those who light up on a regular basis, research shows.
By this time, there will be no nicotine left in the body so gum, patches or e-cigs could help at this stage, to make the weaning process that little bit easier.
On the plus side though,the body is working hard at repairing taste and smell sensors, meaning you can appreciate food that much more.
If you’ve reached the one-week landmark, the body will no longer crave tobacco, but the mind might. It is also the time where people experience a violent cough, which is actually a good sign as the body jettisons waste from the lungs.
Circulation, especially to teeth and gums return to normal at this stage, meaning that damaged tissue can now recover.
Withdrawal, feelings of anxiety, anger, insomnia and depression should have subsided by now, with the good news being that those who have made it this far are five times more likely to permanently quit the habit.
Two to three months
After the first few months, lung function starts to improve and the risk of heart attack diminishes.
After three months, coughs should have retreated as the body has purged itself of toxins and physical activity should become a lot easier.
Six months to one year
Now, the cilia air sacs in the lungs have re-grown, healing some of the damage caused.
Reaching the one-year milestone means that quitters have now halved their chances of having a heart attack, a stroke or heart disease.
At the five-year marker, ex-smokers have lowered their chances of developing diabetes to the same level as those who have never smoked.
Five to 10 years
After getting to this incredible landmark, the chances of having a stroke are reduced to the same levels as non-smokers, as there is no longer smoke in the blood to make it sticky which can lead to the life-threatening affliction.
After a decade of going smoke-free, quitters will have halved their chances of developing lung cancer and greatly reduced the risk of mouth and pancreatic cancers from developing.
After 10 years
After surpassing phenomenal decade without smoking, the risk of heart disease is reduced to the same as that of a non-smoker. This is because smoking forces the heart to beat faster in order to pump the smoke-saturated blood around the body, thus increasing the risk of a heart attack.
The body can certainly do some impressive things if you give it chance – I’m sold.