Some people are reluctant to quit smoking after years of the bad habit because they assume the damage is already done. Why give up something you enjoy if you have already ruined your health, right? Nothing could be further from the truth and people who choose not to quit for this reason are missing out on an opportunity to add years to their lives. A lot of the damage done by smoking stops the moment you kick your habit.

The risks associated with smoking also increase the longer you smoke. Someone who smokes in his teens is creating fewer problems than someone in his 50s or 60s. This does not mean it isnt dangerous for teens and young adults, but it becomes more dangerous as you get older.

Minute by Minute Improvements

Studies show that within minutes of your final cigarette health improvements begin. According to the American Cancer Society, within 20 minutes of a final cigarette the heart rate declines and blood pressure drops. Just 12 hours later, the level of carbon monoxide in your system returns to normal. Within a few months the lungs of a smoker regain the ability to work efficiently. This lowers a persons risk for lung infections.

Life also becomes more enjoyable. Many ex-smokers find they are able to taste and smell things they never could when they were lighting up. Chronic sinus congestion also clears up, making it easier to breathe through your nose. This reduces your risk for getting sick and removes the negative stigma associated with being a mouth-breather.

The benefits do not end there. Within a year of quitting, the risk of heart disease is cut in half. By the end of a smoke-free decade, the risk of lung cancer is 50% less. You will never be completely out of the dark if you have been a smoker, but you can move closer to this ideal by making the smoke-free commitment. For those who go at least 15 years without a cigarette, the risk of heart disease is equivalent to a person who never smoked.

Quality of Life

Many ex-smokers also find their quality of life improves once they quit. Not only do they not smell like smoke any more, they also have the ability to lead a more active life. It could take a few weeks to clean out your lungs once you quit, but you will eventually notice your tolerance for physical activity is increased.

Giving up cigarettes also has an effect on how you look. Tobacco stains your teeth and skin. It also ages your skin prematurely. Those who quit find their skin more supple and no longer gray and hallowed. If you stop early enough in life, you avoid that harsh leathery look many smokers develop. Skin cells are constantly on the mend, so after just a few weeks of living as a non-smoker, you should see a vast improvement in how you look.

Need one more reason to quit? It can save your life. By quitting, you are actually buying back years of your life!