Giving up smoking can be tough – but here’s 11 benefits of stopping smoking

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  • You're planning on giving up smoking and worry that all you'll think about is how much you'll miss cigarettes. Make it easier for yourself by focusing on the less appealing elements of being a smoker. Here are eight to get you started.

    If you’re thinking about giving up smoking, you will probably be aware that cravings for cigarettes are inevitably going to occur. These cravings for cigarettes and nicotine will be strong in the first few days of giving up smoking, but will soon subside the longer you stay aware from cigarettes.

    No doubt stopping smoking can be daunting, but you will see real benefits of not smoking faster than you may realise. To help resist the temptation to light up, here are 11 benefits of quitting smoking to get you started.

    Things you won’t miss after giving up smoking

    The smell

    Does any smoker really like waking up to the stench of cigarettes on their hair, skin and clothes every day? One of the first things you’ll notice after giving up smoking is how much fresher your clothes are. As you don’t have to put them in the machine every time you wear them, you may even save on washing powder too! The whiffy odour may have infiltrated your home, the sofa and curtains; have a good spring clean and this will soon pass.

    Women smelling fresh clothes / Credit: Getty

    Loss of taste

    When you smoke, the taste of cigarettes in your mouth can mask what food really tastes like. So you’ll notice that after a few days of giving up smoking, you can really savour and enjoy meals.

    To help you quit smoking , try chewing a gum like Nicotinell Support Icemint, which helps freshen breath. Each piece releases a small amount of nicotine, helping with the initial withdrawal and reduce cravings.

    Stained, yellow teeth

    You’ll love life without the oral issues smoking can bring. Halitosis or bad breath, stained teeth and receding gums are the most obvious signs of a smoker, and we know that  smoking can lead to periodontitis that causes swollen gums and bad breath. According to the NHS website, non-smokers are less likely  to get gum disease or lose their teeth. Leave cigarettes behind and your oral health could improve.

    Fewer wrinkles

    Smoking affects the blood vessels making it more difficult for them to carry oxygen around the body. It can hinder elastin and collagen production and often leaves smokers with more wrinkles, dull, grey skin and lines around the mouth. The good news is that six weeks after giving up smoking, oxygen levels increase and your skin can look brighter.

    Woman coughing / Credit: Getty

    Smoker’s cough

    A benefit of not smoking is ridding that awful smoker’s cough that interferes in your daily life. That smoker’s cough that you can’t seem to shift will start to recede shortly after you become a non-smoker. After 48 hours smoke free, lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. After 72 hours, breathing becomes easier as the bronchial tubes relax.

    While you may experience the smoker’s cough more in the first few weeks as a non-smoker, this is the result of your lungs cleaning themselves. From between three to nine months since your last cigarette, coughing, wheezing and breathing problems are reduced and lung function increases by up to 10%.

    Breathlessness

    Have you ever had to take a few flights of stairs instead of the lift? Or do you regularly feel out of breath when you’re tearing around after the kids? These are moments when you huff and puff and think to yourself, ‘That will be the cigarettes.’

    Stopping smoking improves breathlessness. After giving up smoking your lungs will start to heal and after a few months you might even notice how much easier physical activity is. According to the NHS website, within two to 12 weeks of giving up smoking, your blood circulation improves and energy levels improve. In fact, when you quit, according to research by the University of Exeter, the more you exercise, the fewer cravings you’re likely to have.

    Stopping smoking helps your live longer

    Ultimately, every smoker knows that smoking is detrimental to their health . It’s morbid, but unfortunately around half of all smokers will be killed by a smoking-related illness if they continue to smoke.

    According to the NHS website, long-term smokers die from diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and bronchitis. According to Cancer Research, smoking causes 15 different types of cancer, and around sever in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK.

    New parents holding a baby / Credit: Getty

    Boost your fertility

    Stopping smoking boosts your fertility. The more you smoke, the less fertile you’re likely to be, whether you’re
    male or female. Smoking has been known to bring on impotence in men.

    ‘Smoking reduces fertility in both women and men, and increases the length of time it takes to conceive,’ says fertility expert, Zita West. ‘Women who smoke are twice as likely to be infertile as women who don’t.’ Put simply, if you’re trying for a baby, it will help if you stop smoking.

    An empty purse

    Another benefit of not smoking and a way to appreciate giving up smoking is to look at the money you’ll save. You can use a money calculator like this one [http://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator].

    On average, giving up smoking will save you around £128 each month. Even if you only have five cigarettes a day, that’s more than £650 a year, which you could spend on a nice holiday.

    Become a better insurance risk when you stop smoking

    It’s not just your health that will benefit from going smoke free. According to figures released last year, smokers can save up to £3,000 on life insurance premiums by kicking the habit.

    The difference between premiums for smokers and non-smokers can be as much as 75%, which over the course of a 25-year policy can easily add up. To be classed as a non-smoker by insurance companies, smokers have to be cigarette free for a full year, so you’ve got an incentive to stop for good.

    Many companies also charge smokers more for their home insurance. Households that contain smokers are 35% more likely to suffer from a fire, according to official figures.

    Stopping smoking saves time

    It takes between 7-10 minutes to smoke a cigarette and many of these are puffed on outside offices, bars, restaurants and shops following the introduction of the smoke free law in July 2007. If you add these cigarettes up, a 10-a-day smoker can save around one to two hours a day when they quit.

    This means that stopping smoking over the course of a year, you can claim back a month of lost time – you’ll have to find a new excuse for saying there are never enough hours in a day!