Email Al

You will know you have quit smoking
when you no longer think about quitting smoking.

February 7, 2001
I Can't Quit

Al's Story:
   It was tough, but...

February 7, 2001
7 Keys To Quitting

Some things to make it easier

April 19, 1988
Dear Non-Smoking Al

Straight from the past...
     ...and from the heart
          —a letter from Smoking Al

I quit smoking in May of 1998.

It would be more correct to say that I had my last cigarette in May of 1998, because I am still quitting smoking.

I began this process years before I finally laid my pack down for good, and today there are still times when I have to tell myself, "No!" when the old habit tries to wheedle its way back into my life.

This was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done, but in return it has been one of the most rewarding! If you think that you cannot quit, you are wrong. You can. It may be very difficult, but that is a very different thing from being impossible. Remember that please, as you go through your own quit.

I have put a few things here that I think will be helpful to you when you decide to quit. It is not exhaustive, and it is not completed. There will always be more to add. It has been nearly 13 years since I last smoked and there are things I am still learning about myself and the cigarette addiction I still battle. I am winning today, and I intend to go on winning, but I never assume I will win. I still fight for my life against this enemy!

Don't rush. If Ben Franklin could apply his wisdom to any two topics, he would say that "Haste Makes Waste" in smoking cessation, and weight loss, as much as in any other. Take your time and do it right. If you do, you will be rewarded!

What happens when you quit!

In 20 minutes:

  • Blood pressure drops
  • Pulse rate drops
  • Body temperature in hands and feet increase to nomral
In 5 hours:

  • Carbon monoxide level is reduced to 1/2 in the blood
  • Oxygen levels increase as carbon monoxide level decreases to nomral
In 24 hours:

  • Chance of heart attack decreases
In 72 hours:

  • Nerve endings in tongue and nose begin to regrow
  • Taste and smell begin to gradually return
  • Carbon monoxide has cleared out
  • Nicotine has cleared out
  • Bronchial tubes relax, making breathing easier
  • Body has enough oxygen in the blood
  • Respiration rate decreases as lung capacity increases
From 2 weeks
to 3 months:

  • Circulation improves
  • Walking becomes easier
  • Lung function increases up to 30%
From one month
to 9 months:

  • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease as mucus production returns to normal.
  • Cilia regrow in lungs, increasing ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, reduce infection
  • Body's overall energy level increases
In 5 years:

  • Lung cancer death rate decrease from 137 per 100,000 to 72 per 100,000
In 10 years:

  • Precancerous cells have been replaced
  • All risk rates drop to that of a non-smoker