So, you want to take the journey toward becoming smoke-free? That’s excellent news! Truth be told, the world would be better off with fewer smokers, not because smokers are bad people, but because smoking has such a profound impact on personal and public health as well as disturbing environmental impacts we’re only just beginning to learn the full extent of.
7 Things You’ll Notice Your First Year Smoke-Free
A smoke-free life offers many benefits. You might have been smoking so long that you don’t even remember what it feels like to be smoke-free, so we’ve put together this list of seven things you’ll notice in your first year. From more energy to greater sex drive to more motivation and a fuller wallet, it’s not an understatement to say that giving up cigarettes may just be the best decision you ever make.
Let’s dive into this list and add seven more reasons to your cessation list.
1. More Energy
You’ve probably noticed that smoking makes you feel sluggish. This is because the smoke affects lung and heart function, decreasing the lungs’ efficiency and disrupting the ability of red blood cells to carry and transfer oxygen and carbon dioxide. When you smoke, carbon monoxide (the deadly one) enters the bloodstream, attaching to red blood cells and disrupting hemoglobin, which is a crucial component of proper gas exchange.
If your tissues and organs aren’t getting enough oxygen, suddenly everyday tasks become a marathon. Walking up the stairs can leave you feeling winded and strained, and you can forget about getting a good workout in. Once you leave cigarettes behind, you’ll notice an increase in your overall energy within weeks of ditching the habit.
2. Higher Sex Drive
You didn’t think that reduced heart and lung function wasn’t affecting your sex life, did you? Good, clean air and a healthy heart are essential to a good sex life, and you can’t have either while you’re a smoker. Not to mention, smoking can cause fertility problems in both men and women!
If you’re hoping to start a family, the best thing you can do is leave cigarettes behind. Not only are you putting your reproductive cells at risk of not performing, but your physical parts may not work properly, either, making it more difficult to actually perform. Quitting helps restore heart and lung function and, therefore, increase your sexual health.
3. More Motivation
All that sluggishness from a lack of oxygen likely affects your mental health, as well. You simply don’t have the energy to get up and clean, do household chores, or perform your best at work. You’ll start to notice your motivation returning once you quit smoking, as even your brain requires clean oxygen to function properly.
Some people have chosen to use alternatives to smoking instead of quitting cold turkey, to great success (depending on the person and the product). Tobacco-free chew (like found on https://blackbuffalo.com/), vape pens, and nicotine gum are just a few options available to smokers.
4. Healthier Skin
Smoking has an aging effect on the skin, especially the face. Lips, cheeks, and eyes are particularly affected by smoking constantly. You’ve probably seen the pursed smoker’s lips before, and smokers also develop bags under the eyes, increased wrinkles and aged lines, and sagging facial skin.
This is the reason that decades-long smokers often appear older than they are. The chemicals in cigarettes reduce blood flow to those areas, causing them to wither and become devoid of crucial nutrients. It also affects the elasticity of the skin, causing it to sag.
5. Increased Lung Function
The lungs have an incredible healing ability, and even after a habit as damaging as smoking, they can still heal almost to full capacity once more. Only a few hours after your last cigarette, the lungs go to work repairing themselves. This process can take up to a year or more, considering your lungs are likely coated in tar and other chemicals, but eventually, your lungs will clear up and you won’t feel like you ran twenty blocks just from walking up the stairs.
6. A Fuller Wallet
As if your personal health wasn’t enough of an incentive, quitting smoking can also positively affect your financial health. Smoking is a costly habit by itself, aside from the damage it causes to your home (which can become devalued by nearly a third from smoking) and car; and let’s not forget the medical bills. Even if you haven’t gotten any yet, you will after enough time as a smoker. Try saving for retirement or that new house while paying off lung cancer treatments…the two are not compatible.
Once you quit, you’ll notice hundreds of extra dollars at your disposal each month, and every year you’ll save anywhere from $3,000-$6,000. That’s a vacation!
7. New Friends
One of the most important things you’ll notice when you quit smoking is a shift in friendships. After all, your smoker friends’ goals and lifestyles will no longer align with your own, so there’s a chance you’ll part ways and move onto a different set of friends with similar goals and mindfulness of personal health. There’s nothing wrong with this; people come and go, relationships change, and we carry on.