Why wait? Know what happens as soon as you quit smoking?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Why wait?
Quit smoking2

CLICK ONCE ON THIS POSTER, based on CDC data, to see a larger version. Then, you can click again to see the poster in even more detail.

Don’t wait! Do it now!

This week’s Our Values posts have looked at some of the benefits of waiting, and why it is sometimes better to postpone a tough decision.

But that’s definitely a wrong strategy when it comes to your health. If you’re a smoker and want to quit—and are waiting until the end of the year to make that a New Year’s resolution—you’ll miss out on months of better health between now and then.

Many long-term smokers think that they’ve already done permanent damage to their hearts and lungs, and underestimate what they’ll get out of quitting right now.

But the Centers for Disease Control says the benefits kick in nearly immediately. “Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years,” according to their studies.

As the poster explains, “Within 20 minutes—Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.” Click on the poster to read it in more detail.

Exercise has some of the same benefits, no matter how late you start. “It’s never too late to start exercising,” according to the National Institutes of Health. “Exercise has benefits at any age.”

So let’s stop kicking this can down the road, unless we’re kicking an actual can down an actual road.

Know other life changes that shouldn’t wait?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: In recent years, Terry Gallagher has written about a wide range of topics; you can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. We invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

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  1. davefossil says

    I smoked Menthol cigarettes for close to 40 years, I was born in 1940. Everybody smoked and it was cheap but I was hooked like everyone else. I quit when the “patch” came out 22 years ago. It was mildly uncomfortable but very manageable. I am profoundly grateful to be a non-smoker now. I was at a gas station in Ohio and saw that the cheap cigarettes are now $4.50 a pack! I couldn’t believe it! I was a two cartons every two weeks smoker and there is no way that as a retired man that I could afford that habit today. I quit when they were$1.25 a pack. Yes, I do not cough in the mornings and overall my health is pretty good for my age>