There are immediate and long-term benefits to quitting smoking. Several benefits you will notice right away include:
Within minutes of smoking the last cigarette and beyond, the body begins to restore itself.
|Time after quitting||Benefits to your health|
|20 minutes||Your heart rate and blood pressure drop|
|12 hours||Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal|
|Two weeks to three months||Your circulation improves and your lung function increases|
|One to nine months||Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; lung function normalizes|
|One year||Excess risk of heart disease is cut in half|
|Five years||Your stroke risk is that of a nonsmoker|
|Ten years||Lung cancer death rate is half of a smokers|
|Fifteen years||Risk of heart disease is that of a nonsmoker|
It is hard, but you can quit smoking. Research clearly shows that people living with mental illness can, and do, quit. The quit rates are not significantly lower than for any other group. It is unusual for anyone to quit on the first attempt; many people are successful in their efforts after three, six or even 10 attempts. If you live with a mental illness and smoke, work with your health care provider to determine a strategy for you, get your supports in order and persist in your efforts for your own health and wellness. There are many tools available that help people quit.
As you get ready, increase your chances by:
Take three steps to support your health and wellness:
Many NAMI affiliates offer support groups like NAMI Connection, a free recovery support group program for people who live with mental illness. See how you can benefit from peer support, and see if you can help someone in a similar situation.
There is good evidence that simple phone support may make a real difference for people who want to quit smoking. 1 (800) QUIT-NOW is a great resource for individuals who want to quit smoking. It is free, and many people have found this resource helpful. In addition, some smoking cessation programs offer free text messages that help provide ongoing support and coaching. Engage your Facebook friends and keep them updated on your progress. You may also find help connecting with other quitters on the NAMI online communities.
To quit permanently, you may need to rely on more than one method at a time. Methods may include step-by-step manuals, phone support, self-help classes, counseling, nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) and/or prescription medications.
There are several products scientifically proven to help double or triple your odds of quitting for good. However, it is possible that you will feel some effects of nicotine withdrawal. Getting temporary nicotine in your system while quitting can help you feel more comfortable and in control as you start your tobacco-free life.
Nicotine Replacement Therapies (NRT)
NRT is a combined approach that includes a smoking cessation program plus behavior change and support. If used properly, NRT can help double or triple your chances of quitting. All NRT products have side effects, so before deciding on an option, know the risks and benefits of each option. Use caution if you have heart disease or a history of heart disease and consult your doctor before taking medication.
It is often hard to stop smoking, but you can do it. It may help to know that there are many organizations that offer information, counseling and other services on how to quit and where to go for support. Here are some to get you started: