There’s never a bad time to quit smoking, but with Breathe Easy Week taking place this week, now is the perfect opportunity to kick the habit for good. Breathe Easy Week is a British Lung Foundation initiative which helps raise awareness of lung conditions and raises money for vital research.
With the theme of this year’s campaign being ‘Love Your Lungs’, you can do your bit to love your own lungs by quitting smoking and reaping the health benefits.
The impact of smoking on families
We all know that smoking can have an impact on your health, but what about those around you? Smoking can affect your family in a number of ways, causing financial problems, illnesses and disease associated with second-hand smoke and other consequences of smoking. If you smoke around your children, it can affect their perception of smoking to the point where they themselves become smokers as they get older.
There are many critical illnesses that stem from smoking, and the effects on loved ones can be disastrous. If you had to give up work due to a serious illness, how would you provide for them? If you’re a smoker and thinking of quitting, you should also look at getting life and critical illness insurance to protect you and your family should the worst happen.
However, the good news is that the sooner you quit smoking, the quicker your body will recover. You can experience the benefits of quitting smoking in as little as 24 hours, all of which go towards reducing your risk of developing lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses.
Want to quit smoking? Here are 10 benefits
1. Your heart rate will normalise
Did you know that smoking causes your heart rate to increase? As nicotine makes its way into your bloodstream, it causes the blood vessels to narrow, making it harder for your heart to pump blood around the body. Even after just 20 minutes of smoking, your heart rate will start to return to normal. A typical resting heart rate for adults is 60-100 beats per minute, and 40-60 for athletes, so if you want to work on improving your fitness, giving up smoking can help bring your heart rate down to the lower end of the scale.
2. You’ll develop healthier eating habits
Smoking can do strange things to your appetite. Not only does it affect your taste buds, it can also suppress your hunger, meaning you might skip meals and miss out on vital nutrition that your body needs. Many people are afraid to quit smoking because they fear it will make them put on weight, but if you stick to a healthy, balanced diet, you can avoid unnecessary weight gain and start giving your body the nutrients it needs to stay strong and healthy.
3. You’ll breathe easier
All of that coughing and spluttering is a sign that you’re not breathing as easily as you should be. For healthier lungs, giving up smoking will help you breathe more easily and make everyday tasks like walking up steps easier to manage. Your breathing can improve in as little as 72 hours after your last cigarette, and your lung capacity will continue to improve the longer you’re off the cigarettes.
4. Your skin will improve
According to skincare experts Olay, smoking can wreak havoc on your skin. By introducing more than 4,000 chemicals into your skin, you’re making it prone to effects such as:
- Sagging skin
- A dry, flaky complexion
- Wrinkles, particularly around the mouth
- A change in skin tone
- A dull, grey appearance
When you give up smoking, you’re giving your skin a chance to repair itself and help stop the signs of ageing in their tracks. By quitting smoking, you can use the money you save to treat yourself to some new skincare products that can help erase some of the damage, restoring it back to a healthy glow.
5. You’ll improve your financial health
Smoking can take a big toll on your finances, and with cigarette prices increasing – it’s an expensive habit to keep up. If you’re worried about your finances, you can free up some money by quitting smoking and using the money you save for paying your bills, clearing your debts and putting into savings. With your finances in better shape, you’ll sleep easier at night and avoid some of the problems caused by money worries.
6. Your oral health will improve
Smoking causes all sorts of damage to your oral health. As well as making you more prone to mouth cancer and other illnesses, you can also suffer from poor gum health, bad breath and stained teeth. There are ways to improve your oral health to combat ‘smoker’s mouth’ including whitening treatments, gum disease treatments and regular hygienist appointments. Your dentist will be able to give you advice on your individual needs.
7. Your fertility will improve
Smoking can have a negative impact on fertility, which can be bad news if you’re hoping to try for a family soon. While women are advised to quit smoking while pregnant anyway, quitting while trying to conceive can help both men and women.
8. Your energy levels will increase
Smoking can cause you to feel tired, making it difficult to concentrate or carry out certain physical activities. Within 72 hours, you’re likely to notice yourself feeling more alert and awake as your circulation improves. Alongside gentle exercise, such as walking, you can help you improve your energy levels further and overcome the long-term effects of smoking.
9. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease
It’s well-known that smoking can lead to heart disease. According to the British Heart Foundation, smokers are twice as likely to have a sudden heart attack compared to a non-smoker. Within a year of quitting smoking, you’ll significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, which will not only help you to live longer, but will help take some of the strain off the NHS too.
10. You’ll reduce your risk of lung cancer
The long-term health benefits of quitting smoking are difficult to argue. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and is also its most preventable cause. You can significantly reduce your chances of developing lung cancer by quitting now, reducing the risk to half of that as a smoker within 10 years.
Quit smoking now to experience reap the health benefits
When you quit smoking, you’ll experience sudden and immediate changes to your health, and continue to do so over the course of several years. Quitting may seem like a difficult challenge, but people quit every day thanks to the various resources that are available. The NHS has several resources dedicated to helping you quit smoking and your pharmacist or GP can also help you to quit. With Breathe Easy Week, you’ve got the perfect excuse to give it a try and say goodbye to smoking for good.
Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to plan for your future health, and for the things you can’t foresee – there’s ESMI. Find out more about our life and sick pay insurance policies to give you peace of mind for the future.
Give up smoking this June and look forward to a healthier, happier summer that’s smoke-free for you and your family’s wellbeing.