April 7th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
10 surprising benefits of quitting smoking
Rick Morris is one of seven CNN viewers participating in the CNN Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. He quit smoking on an episode of "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." and has been smoke-free since.
About two months ago, I quit smoking. At the time there were many reasons influencing my decision to finally choose a smoke-free lifestyle. I was worried about my health. I had high blood pressure. My doctor and everyone I knew was encouraging me to kick the habit. My family history is one of lung cancer and diabetes. The list goes on and on.
Now that I've been without tobacco for the past couple months (63 days, to be exact), I've noticed some changes in the way I'm living.
All are positive and are in direct relation to my body's depletion of those nasty chemicals I've called friends for the last 12 years.
So I thought I would list those changes and explain how I have been affected by each. Though my list is restricted to 10, it is by no means an exhaustive one.
1. No more chronic cough: All smokers know what "smoker's cough" is. I didn't realize how annoying this was until I stopped coughing all the time. After about a week being smoke-free, I noticed I didn't have to clear my throat every few minutes.
I recall plenty of times when I was at a function or meeting and needed to cough so badly, but couldn't because I knew it would be rude and interrupting to those around me. It's like an insect hovering in your throat – not touching, just drying everything between your tongue and your stomach – and you can't do a darn thing about it.
2. The smell: I didn't know I smelled so badly until I was around other smokers. Their clothes, home, car, even their pets reek!
About a week after I smoked my last cancer stick, my daughter and her boyfriend, a smoker, dropped by for a visit. Their dog always peels for the door and makes it into the house first. Yeah, I actually smelled the odor of cigarettes coming from the dog.
3. No more cleaning butts: I swear that cigarette butts would multiply when I wasn't looking. I once placed a butt can out back on the patio and initially used it as intended. Pretty soon, I was too lazy to walk down the steps to the can and just started flipping cigarette butts out into the yard, in the area of the butt can (as if I were shooting a jump shot). I rarely scored.
Eventually, they were lying everywhere. So much that I would just wait until the weekends to "clean" them with the leaf blower. Nasty, nasty, nasty!
4. It's just an extra $200 per month: Really, the extra money wasn't even noticed, as I can easily spend that on a night grilling on the patio (I love king crab and filet mignon, and only the finest Belgium beer!) So I really didn't look at this as a true benefit of not smoking.
But, with the price of cigarettes reaching about $6 a pack in my area – and up to $11 in other areas of the nation – I discovered this adds up. And, it was clear the price of tobacco was just going to continue to rise.
So, I got out my calculator. $6 a day multiplied by 365 days in the year. Comes out to $2,190. Looking at this long term, that's about $122,000 over the next 56 years (when I turn 100). Assuming cigarettes continue to increase in price at the present rate, then it's easy to see that number growing to half-million dollars. Invested wisely, I'm sure I can leave someone a big, fat payday!
5. Lost productivity: Sure, we all need a break or two during the work day. But I realized I was taking about 20 of these 5-minute breaks. In all honesty, each was probably about 10 minutes. About two-thirds of my breaks were when I was at work (I have a home-based web development business). So, that's more than 2 hours of breaking as opposed to working.
How in the world was I getting my work done? I have since realized that I wasn't.
6. Food tastes much better: I don't know if it has something to do with a cleaner mouth, but food simply tastes better. I also find that I use less salt.
I've heard on several occasions that if one quits smoking one gains weight, but I would warn people from using the weight-gain excuse as a viable argument when attempting to become smoke-free. Trading one bad habit for another isn't the way to go.
7. Non-smoking or non-smoking?: I think the air-line industry coined the phrase: "Smoking, or non-smoking?" And, I think it was the first group to eliminate cigarette smoking from a certain area (the airplane).
Today, it's almost preposterous to think we once smoked during an international flight on a 747! "Non-smoking or non-smoking?" seems to be the rhetorical, unasked question wherever you go these days. It's understood. There will be no smoking here, or here, or there, or over there, or in there, or... well, you get the point.
Unlike the Golden era of the 1920s and 1930s, when smoking was an upper-class hobby, a smoker's world is an unfriendly one today.Since the airlines quit asking that redundant question, smoking has been eliminated from virtually all public places. Restaurants, high-school football games, town parks, even bars and drinking establishments have become smoke-free.
For smokers, drinking a beer without a cigarette is like playing pool without a beer! Whether smokers realize it or not, the very fact that one uses tobacco limits them in myriad ways – especially socially. I don't have to worry about that anymore.
8. Dry, sticky contact lenses: As a wearer of these miracle discs of ocular health, I know what smoking does to your contact lenses. Smoke makes them dry. They become cloudy and you're constantly rubbing your eyes. Eventually, your lenses get to the point where you must get them out.
Fortunately, I wear disposable contact lenses. All I had to do was pop in a new set. But, at a couple dollars per lens, this was costing me. How to solve this annoying problem? Quit smoking!
9. Physical appearance: In the few months I've not smoked, I can tell my overall physical appearance has improved.
My skin isn't dry and wrinkly. My bit of gray hair is actually going brown. My self-confidence in speaking directly to someone isn't hindered by my desire to turn at an angle because of smoker's breath.
10. Bye, bye yellow teeth: No matter how hard I brushed or swished fluoride, I couldn't seem to keep perfectly white teeth.
"It's because you smoke," my dentist proclaimed. "And, unless you do something about that, your dental health will continue to deteriorate, thus affecting your overall health."
Bad teeth can lead to serious health effects throughout your body. Yesterday I had a cleaning at the dentist, and plan to keep my teeth white and healthy from now on.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
Thanks for sharing this – really motivational! I'm on day 7 as an ex (after 30 years), and about to bust!! I know there's still a rough road ahead, and things are supposed to get better. But, sometimes, it feels like it's getting worse! Reading though your points and people's responses are hopefully keeping me on track. Keep your fingers crossed!
Reblogged this on In The Midst, Lord... and commented:
Stop smoking! It's good for you and everyone around you! 😉
Smoking really kills, not only to the smokers but also the second hand smokers. Excessive and chain smoking is really bad to everyone's health. Most men especially the youngster nowadays smoke as if there's no tomorrow. What they don't really know is that it can cause them premature stroke and can harm their health. The benefit of quitting smoke is wellness and healthier life. – Stroke from Alcohol&Smoking
I had started smoking at 16 and did stop at age 26 for about 10 years , went back to it when something really bad happened in my life thought it would help my stress , i guess i wanted to believe it did but it really didn't . I actually realized when i smoked did not have dreams at all and probably really never had a deep sleep, noticed a big difference with not smoking and how it affects your body what a difference, smoking does not help you go through difficult times you need to get that from biofeedback and training your brain its a very powerful thing we have and need to utilize more often.
Another benefit; You'll be a nicer person. Most smokers don't seem to give a crap how their habit affects other people. They smoke right next to building entrances, and if they so much as walk in your house, everything stinks. And working with one sucks. They get a dozen breaks, and you get griped at if you so much as try and get a quick snack.
Yeah yeah, I'm sure there's one person who read this and immediately got outraged. But admit it, it's because you're kind of a jerk. Think about it. Do you honestly think about anything other than your fix when cravings strike? Do you care that a coworker is picking up the slack, or that the people with now-watering eyes are rushing past you holding their breath, or that a person doesn't have a choice when it comes to being exposed to smoke? No, you don't.
Honestly, the smell alone is reason enough. I have to wash virtually everything when a smoker comes to my house.
I CAN ASSURE YOU EVEN BEFORE THE SMOKING BAN CAME IN, IN THE UK , I'D ASK IF PEOPLE MINDED IF I SMOKED , OR FAILING THAT I'D GO OUTSIDE , I NEVER JUST DUMPED IT ON PEOPLE LIKE I HAD A RIGHT TO , DON'T TAR EVERY SMOKER WIT THE SAME BRUSH
How dare you. You are really full of yourself. You make it sound like people who smoke have a choice. It's called ADDICTION. Definition- the state of being ENSLAVED to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
I AM an ex-smoker, while at work I got the same amount of breaks as everyone else, most industries are like this. So no one picked up the slack for me, or any other co-smokers. In fact I would outwork other people. If you had to pick up the slack for anyone let me be the one to say this, "I'm sorry". Obviously you’re looking for someone to blame for your miserableness at work. The only reason you may have had to pick up anyone’s slack is not because they smoke, it's because they are lazy. That is a personal trait, has nothing to do with smoking vs. non-smoking. Feel free to direct your anger to your HR dep’t because obviously they turn a blind eye to non-performers. Then outside your work, smoking has been banned from pretty much everywhere, so when a person does smoke, they are directed away and shunned upon by society.
If smoking found its way into your home, that is because you had let it. It's your home; you have the right to not let anyone in. This is a free world. If you felt that by letting a smoker into your house, infected your house to the point where you needed "wash virtually everything" then by all means do us all a favor and not let them in everyone deserves honesty, if you don’t like someone or don’t like something’s they do let them know. In the long run it’s a lot easier on everybody, since then you don’t have to put on a fake smile when they come around.
I do agree it is a bad habit, and it is dirty but remember this is an ADDICTION. I feel sorry for the people who are still enslaved to smoke, because i have been there in their shoes, and have seen it from both sides.
and it's not "most smokers", it's the few!
is all this not just copy and pasted out of allen carrs book easyway to stop smoking??
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I just quit cold turkey about a month and a half ago, I rarely have cravings anymore I smoked from 20-26 yo. I'm already noticing the extra money in my account about $150 a month PLUS the other stuff you get at the store/gas station to get smokes (energy drinks, snacks, or whatever on top of the smokes) I don't go to the store nearly as often. Food taste better. I am more productive at work. I'm not dying for a smoke after a movie, long meetings don't suck nearly as much anymore (they still suck lol). As far as running and exercising go I haven't noticed any major improvements but I'm sure it's to come I also exercise every day. Oh and I don't feel weird for lighting a smoke after a long 6 mile run anymore because I don't smoke anymore. I did get a little fatter after the first month (3 pounds) but nothing a little diet change didn't fix. So make sure you change your diet around if I didn't do that it could have been 6 pounds by now! anyway im just typing away now not even looking over my grammer so im going to stop.
I would like to tell you that I used to smoke i had been smoking for 10 years. But suddenly i got to know about e cigarettes then i chose it. I got really awesome relief by e cigarettes and i bought them from No Tar Uk here in doncaster.I have been now vaping for a year and feeling much better than before.
But however none of the benefits do you get unless you start smoking 😉
That I quit smoking I have been 1.5 years since I smoked, and luck to you:
you are setting an example for other smokers as well. I recently quit smoking, and I am so glad I did except for intermittent smoking crave....
Denounce Jimmy Moore and then we'll talk.
I was a smoker for longer than I wish to remember over 30 years, I didn't want to quit I loved smoking. Then I started to notice that I was really struggling to breathe after walking a short distance, had to sit down sometimes and catch a breath it scared me. I finally decided to quit I went for hypnosis on April 24th had my last smokie on the way there and that was it ! Now I did use the Nicotine patches and they helped me move over to the Non Smoking Team....I am in a good place now first 3 weeks were horrible I coughed more than I ever had. People are amazed that I did it and have noticed that I can now have a conversation without coughing.....I never noticed that I did that . I am so happy and proud that I finally did it I have absolutely no urge to smoke again......it stinks..............
Well..I stopped smoking in January after I watched my older brother die here in my home of Pancreatic Cancer. He was a heavy smoker ..and when he was told he had terminal cancer he told me he expected it since he smoked so much. He had cancer in his bladder, stomach, pancreas, throat and intestines....it was a fast spreading fatal cancer.
I watched him die...it was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. He asked me to quit smoking and to always remember him as an example of what smoking can and will do.
Listen to him Mike , my Dad died at 48 of Cancer he smoked since he was 11 everyday right down to the butt and then re-light another one. His Mum came from England to bury her Son......Smoking is the cause of many evils quit take your time but do it.
Others have voiced my confusion above, but it's awesome sometimes to add towards the melee. I have been signed up since the middle of January, but have three letters. They're wonderful letters! But similarly, I'd like to know if this is just the process from the dust settling or if this is to be expected?
It will be 7 months that I have quit smoking. I do feel better, no more coughing. My kids are happy that I quit too 🙂
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2 yrs smoke free TODAY. I was a smoker for 25 years, if you think you won't survive the initial withdrawal, let me tell you just take it ONE DAY AT A TIME. Don't think about tomorrow, next week, next month or next year just concentrate on today. (at least this is what worked for me). This time I went cold turkey because Zyban made me nuts. I feel 100% better and the only regret I have is I didn't quit years ago. It also helps tremendously that it is becoming more of a smoke free society! Good luck to all!
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You can contact him via his email address: firstname.lastname@example.org i promise you, all your heart desires will be meant.
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Electronic Cigarette has got many health benefits in it as it not contains any harmful chemicals.
Today is my 3rd day without cigarettes.. Thank you for sharing your experience.. 😉
It's always a great story when it's about someone quitting smoking! Except for the one+year I quit, which was 15 years ago, I have smoked for 27 of my 46 years in age. And yes, if you multiply the cigarettes and the money it cost to buy them, it all adds up to a lot of money and sickening effort spent to feel bad and destroy my health.
I quit 3 weeks and 2 days ago. At the time, I had been seriously "planning" yet another "good" quit day (like there is one, lol), when my grandmother passed away. Because I had to travel back to my family, and because they don't smoke and don't like the idea of me smoking, I decided to buy an electronic cigarette and just quit tobacco. It was a good opportunity as I was out of my direct "comfort zone" and routine. I've quit cold turkey before and nearly lost my mind. I thought unless I quit cold turkey without nicotine replacement, I wasn't really quitting anyway, but I was wrong.
My goal is to bed nicotine free within another few months. The ecig made it tolerable for me to quit the real thing, and I'll say that the immediate rewards have been great: better breath, healthier gums, whiter teeth, no cough or discharge, clearer lungs, better blood circulation, etc. And, this time quitting is actually fun and I'm really proud of myself. It's the best decision and choice I have made in my adult life. If I can do it, anyone can do it! Live long and prosper:)
Thanks for sharing. This is my 6th day without any cigarettes. Been smoking for 17 years and – 7 years light smoker and 10 years heavy smoker (at least a pack a day). I tried to quit many times before without any success and it never lasted for more than 24 hours. This time it's different , it's already the 6th day and I am feeling a lot better. I tried e- cigarettes and nicotine patches before, but it didn't help. I guess it's a personal thing because I have heard other people saying these things helped them. I was having really bad dreams when I used (in most dreams, i ended up dying ) nicotine patches, so i figured it's better to die of cancer 20 years later than dying of heart attack while sleeping seeing all these weird dreams. Anyway I just quit cold turkey 6 days ago and the feeling today is wonderful. It was quite hard for me during the first 3 days after I stopped smoking, but it wasn't that bad as i expected. Day by day it's getting better and now I don't really think about smoking as much as i used to . I tried to quit cold turkey before, but it didn't work for me at that time. I am assuming there is a time for everything. My point is even if you fail couple times , keep on trying. Below is a list of things that helped me (or just happened)
1. I smoked almost 1 and half pack of cigarettes and drank 4-5 glass of cognac and went to bed around 3 am in the morning last friday night. Usually I buy cigarettes for the next day at night itself, but that night i decided not to buy and try to quit the next day.
2. Woke up late on Saturday and since I smoked too much the day before, I didn't feel like smoking in the morning which is usually the first thing i do after waking up. I spend good amount of time with my family and kept myself busy through out the day . Watching tv, going for movies, shopping, long drive , going to sleep early etc all helps
3. Second day I really wanted to smoke. But since I already spend 24 hours without the cigarette, I just wanted to push it for another 24 hours to see if I could do it and that changed everything. i did all the things mentioned above to keep myself busy and pushed through the second day.
4. Third day I was more confident that I could push it for another 24 hours and it just continued in the following days. Today is the 6th day and so far so good. I still have the cravings once in a while and it only lasts for couple minutes, so i just divert my attention to something else and it really helps.
Drink plenty of water, juice, eat what you want for the first 72 hours (don't worry about diet)- this helps you to reduce the craving, do some exercise for 30 minutes or so, try to go out (even window shopping or waling through the mall is fine) and most importantly think about the happiness of your family (wife especially) and all these things will help you to fight the craving and live without cigarettes for the rest of your life.
Try Allen Carr's easy way to stop smoking, it really helps!
Smoking is like a trap, it is 99% mental, and 1% physical.
You will be surprised with what you found
Allen Carr's book could cure you of addiction to Cig
Also, believe in Jesus, He lives and He heals
I stopped smoking four years ago after smoking for 41+ years. I really liked smoking, but I had a heart attack. When I got out the hospital my doctor gave me Welbutrin to help me stop smoking. It worked for me. Stopping was one of the smarter things I've done. I wish I never picked up a cigarette!
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After 35 years of smoking I quit 2 1/2 years ago (with the help of Chantix...a true wonder drug that changed my life). This article though, while listing real benefits to being smoke-free, misses the mark, which is this: Not smoking makes me feel PHYSICALLY better – right down to the cells of my body – far beyond anyone can describe. I lived every morning with tension/pain in my legs and in my arms, which I attributed simply to getting older (age 50). When I finally quit though, after just TWO DAYS of being smoke free, that pain tension EVAPORATED...just WENT AWAY!! I was incredulous; today I feel absolutely so good that I look at smokers and wonder in amazement WHY they're doing what they're doing! In fact I told my formerly chastising doctor, "Doc, no, not even you have an idea of how toxic and poisoning cigarette smoking is. I've lived it, and how I felt and feel now is day and night. Smoking poisins you down to your very cells." Friends, if you're struggling with breaking free, try Chantix, and don't give up. The benefits are SOOO worth the struggle. Bless you...Michael
Just needed to share my story with you all. I started smoking when I was 16 years old and quit when I turned 64. I quit cold turkey and have now been smoke free for almost 17 months, so it can be done, and I must say I am a woman. For me I chose cold turkey as I felt smoke aids was only supporting my habit and would only prolong it even more. It was easier than I could of ever imagined, I guess once the mind is made up, the rest was easy, I am only sorry that I didn't do it a lot sooner. No more smokers breath, or smelling like a tobacco factory, or the frowns from non smokers, I just feel free, my breathing is excellent and do my one and a quarter miles on a tread mill every day, I feel just great. I still get small urges to have a cigarette but I talk myself out of it, I think to myself they stink and they are expensive, I live in Alberta Canada and a package a day at ten dollars a pack adds up pretty quick, just to make yourself stink. Cigarettes also contribute to health problems. If you are trying to quit, just don't give into them, each day becomes a little easier, they are a very powerful addiction.Keep your mind occupied, and good luck, cause really at the end of the day it really is mind over matter.
Google Allen Carr, he has some good books, like Easyway to Stop smoking, really good
If you still crave for cig, his book helps!
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I just quit smoking... it has not been too bad, since this time I was ready to quit. Thanks for posting this article! It is a great inspiration to all of us who are sticking it out and continuing to not smoke... By the way... Cold turkey here!!!
I have smoked in my twenties and quit in my early thirties, then I met my second husband and he smoked. So, i guess you know the end story of that, i began smoking cause he did. Now, smoking in my forty's is way more unhealthy. I have chronic cough, hypothyroidism (which smoking lowers it more), I have high blood pressure and I take anti-depressants on top of those medications treating for what I call my daily fix....SMOKING!! doctor visits, high cost medications, high health insurance and not to mention that where i work smokers are like deceased people who need to be shot and put out of their misery. My house smells like a bar and my dog breathes in second hand smoke from me and my husband. My car is offensive and most of my family and friends will not ride in my car. I have to suck on mints, chew gum or candy in between smoke breaks cause my throat closes up and I have to freakin cough my head off. The cost in which we have spent on this habit, meant no traveling to Hawaii, no upgrading in the home, or a newer car. I even have to spend extra at the dentist for whitening my teeth. This is crazy crazy bad habit....really!!!!!! It took the new year of 2014 when my husband got the new higher premium on his company health insurance to say....ok enough is enough, not cause the cost of a pack of smokes or anything I mentioned I have for smoking along with him, but cause of the insurance. So thank you Obama for smacking my husband in the wallet. I have not smoked a cigarette in four days, it is January 4, 2014 and I am kicking this cold turkey. I keep a picture of Maui on my desk and I think of all the upgrades I will do to my home, and I think of all the money I will pocket from all the things I mentioned above and the most important thing is I will be HEALTHYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! God bless all of you on this journey to quit smoking...I prey for all of us and my husband and I..I will take it one day at a time!!!
Dear don't give up, try Allen Carr's book, he smoked 100 cig a day and he quit
His book is Easyway to Stop smoking.
Just google it, you can buy it from AMAZON. worth the money
EASYWAY also have some clinics, you can google that too.
30 years I smoked for. Now it will be 7 days tomorrow that I have been smoke free. If it hadnt been for the e cig then I woukd of def started smoking again. But even after 7 days I feel so much better and can actually breath properly..... thank god for e cig
karen, when i quit i used the gum for a few days then intentionally threw away the gum, as the critical thing is to break the nicotene addiction. to go clean without any nicotene for a week begins the successful process of freeing oneself from the dependency. i found the nicotene replacement products useful initially, to get off the cigs but then it's necessary to quit all nicotene intake , to get free and succeed.
I have smoked since age 20 Iam now 45. I was feeling all the bad health effects of smoking. I have decided to quit and so far things are feeling much better..
well done, i hope you can stick with it; the first 6-8 weeks are crucial to being free of nicotene addiction. the first few weeks are the hardest, then it gets a lot easier. i'm a similar age to you and had smoked for as long. it's now many months ago that i became again a non-smoker, after so many years. keep going; the benefits are so numerous, it goes beyond the obvious ones that smokers might think of when considering quitting. if i occasionally get a mild yearning for a smoke now, it is so superficial and transient, nothing like a nicotene addicts craving; more like a passing desire for a bag of potato chips or similar. i can easy tell myself that a lot of sentimental thoughts of smoking are an illusion that has nothing to do with the reality of smoking – which is unhealthy, smelly and not actually enjoyable to anyone but the addict.
I AM ON DAY 37 SINCE I QUIT SMOKING. I WAS A SMOKER SINCE LAST 34 YEARS AND I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO QUIT SMOKING. BUT I WAS WRONG. I TRIED A COUPLE OF TIMES BUT FAILED AND THIS TIME I THOUGHT OF QUITTING ON A DAILY BASIS. I THOUGHT I WILL NOT SMOKE TODAY AND KEPT ON THINKING LIKE THIS EVERYDAY TILL DAY 10 AND AFTER THAT HAVE NEVER EVEN HAD THE URGE TO SMOKE. NOW EVEN THE SMELL OF SOMEONE SMOKING MAKES ME FEEL DIZZY. GUYS THIS IS THE WORST THING IN THE UNIVERSE. PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP EVEN IF YOU HAVE FAILED IN THE PAST. YOU WILL DEFINATELY SUCCEED ONE DAY.
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I am almost 44 and have smoked over 19 years. pack and a half sometimes 2 packs in 24 hours if I had to drive. (that's when I smoked most). Today makes 10 days that I am smoke free. So far its been hard but I am doing good.
i stop smoking march 22 2014 greatest thing ever. it wasnt hard as i thought it would b
Try Allen Carr's book easyway to stop smoking.
You will be surprised! I am surprised that none of you heard of him!
The evil of Tobacco Industry! The evil of money!
Allen Carr's book very helpful, try that and read it carefully and follow his instructions! Very little craving!
Or even better, try his clinic, just google Allen Carr Smoking