It’s been one month since you quit smoking. Take a moment to celebrate reaching this important milestone! Even if you slipped up over the course of the month, you’ve taken a significant step towards improving your immediate and long-term health. Staying smoke-free is challenging, particularly if you’re grappling with some lingering withdrawal symptoms. Having a clear picture of exactly how your body has benefited from one month without smoking can help to motivate you when difficulties arise.
What Happens One Month After Quitting Smoking?
One month after quitting smoking, your body has already made considerable progress in healing the damage caused by cigarettes.
Our bodies and brains are very resilient. They will begin the reparation process the moment you stub out your last cigarette. Over the last four weeks, you’ve essentially entered recovery mode; various important changes have been taking place inside your body.
So, what exactly are those changes?
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Your Body Is Free From Carbon Monoxide And Nicotine
Nicotine is the addictive chemical found in cigarettes. It interferes with how the brain functions by stimulating the adrenal glands and prompting the release of dopamine. When you smoked, your emotions, hunger cues, and stress levels were essentially controlled by nicotine.
After one month smoke free (if you’ve gone cold turkey), all traces of nicotine have left your body. Even if you’ve enlisted the help of replacement therapies — research shows us that these therapies can increase your odds of remaining smoke-free long-term — you will be tapering off nicotine, so you’re well on your way too.
At the one month mark, your body will also be free of carbon monoxide, which was starving your body of oxygen when you smoked.
Risk Of Heart Disease Has Decreased
After just one month without smoking, your risk of developing heart disease has already fallen. In fact, this risk decreased just one day after you quit.
Smoking reduces the levels of good cholesterol in your body and elevates your blood pressure, which increases the risk of blood clots, strokes, and coronary heart disease.
One month after quitting, your blood pressure is well and truly back to normal levels, so your risk of developing these conditions is considerably lower.
The oxygen levels in your blood have also returned to healthy levels at this point. This means you’ll be able to exercise more effectively, and regular exercise promotes heart-health.
Lungs Have Started Healing
Smoking seriously impacts on the lungs.
It impairs the function of the cilia, which are the tiny hairlike structures that line our airways. They have the task of clearing the lungs of debris, bacteria, and viruses. When you inhale smoke, the toxins in the cigarettes damage the cilia, meaning they cannot effectively rid the lungs of gunk.
In addition to this, the tar from cigarettes — a sticky, black, carcinogenic substance — collects in the lungs, and the air sacs within the lungs lose their elasticity when exposed to tobacco smoke.
These systematic changes often lead to a persistent cough and breathing difficulties.
However, the lungs actually begin to heal themselves the moment you stop smoking. The cilia begin to regain movement within hours after your last cigarette, and continue to work hard to clear the lungs of the toxins that have collected there. This is why you may cough more after you quit — your lungs are simply expelling chemical residue.
The longer you go without smoking, the clearer your lungs will be. At the one month, you’ll find you can breathe easier — especially when exercising — and your cough will begin to subside.
Your Sense Of Taste And Smell Returns
One month after quitting, your sense of taste and smell will improve.
Cigarette smoke damages the nerve endings in the mouth and nose, which can have a numbing effect.
After just two days without smoking, these nerve ending will start to repair themselves. Over the course of the month, your senses will gradually improve.
Time to tuck into your favourite meal — you’ll truly be able to enjoy it now.
The nicotine content in cigarette smoke causes the blood vessels to narrow, which limits their ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to various organs in the body. Nicotine also hinders the body’s ability to circulate carbon dioxide and other dangerous substances out of our bodily tissues.
Blood circulation improves significantly around the one month mark, and contunues to improve for up to three months. You may notice you can move and exercise more comfortably around this time.
Skin Appearance Improves
When the circulation in your body improves, so too does the appearance of your skin. Improved circulation increases skin elasticity and moisture retention. You may also notice a rosier complexion.
One Month After Quitting Smoking: The Benefits
In addition to the numerous improvements to your health, consider the time and money you’ve saved by quitting smoking.
You’ve Saved Time
When you quit, you reclaim the hours you would have lost to smoking.
On average, it takes around 6 minutes to smoke a single cigarette. If you were to smoke one pack of cigarettes a day, you’d be spending two hours of your day puffing. That means that over the course of one smoke-free month, you’d save 60 hours that you would have otherwise spent smoking.
Instead, you’d be spending those 60 hours doing things you love, spending time with people you love, and creating healthier habits.
You’ve Saved Money
Cigarette prices are on the rise, and won’t be falling anytime soon. Today in Australia, a 25 pack of cigarettes costs around $49.
So, if you used to smoke a 25 pack a day, you’re saving $1,470 a month.
That’s a lot of money back in your pocket.
Smoking Withdrawal Symptoms After One Month
You’re not imagining it, the first month after quitting can be extremely challenging. This is when the withdrawal symptoms are at their most intense.
Most of the physical withdrawal symptoms appear within the first day of quitting, and remain quite intense for a few days afterwards.
Over the month, these symptoms gradually reduce in intensity.
At the one month mark, most of your physical withdrawal symptoms — such as headaches, restlessness, head cold symptoms, and digestive issues — will have dissipated. However, the intensity and duration of your withdrawal symptoms will vary based on on your smoking dependency and whether you quit with or without replacement therapies.
It’s completely normal for psychological withdrawal symptoms to continue up to the one month mark. These are generally the last symptoms to go.
If you are experiencing any of the below symptoms, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor. They will be able to recommend additional strategies to help you through.
Anxiety and Depression
Research shows that smoking rates are higher among people with mental illnesses. If you have a history of anxiety or depression, you may find that your symptoms worsen during the withdrawal period. If you notice this happening, seek mental health advice as soon as possible. You may need to explore additional strategies to help you through and treat any underlying conditions.
It’s also important to communicate how you’re feeling to trusted loved ones. They will be able to support you through this period and encourage you to keep pushing through.
Many people experience mood changes as a result of nicotine withdrawal. You may experience irritability, an increase in stress, or you may feel angry more often than usual. It’s completely normal for these feelings to arise as your body adjusts to being nicotine-free.
If these mood changes are concerning you or persisting beyond one month, chat with your doctor. You can also implement a few stress-relieving activities to better manage your moods.
Exercise is a great way to release feel-good hormones and help you expel any pent up energy or restlessness.
Meditation or deep belly breathing can also be useful to alleviate feelings of anger or frustration.
If you notice these emotions rising, try breathing in through your nose for a count of four, holding for four, and exhaling out of your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least five times. This exercise works to slow your heart rate and settle your nervous system.
Cravings and Difficulty Concentrating
You may find it difficult to concentrate due to intense cravings. This is very common in the first month after quitting.
Cravings are likely to come in waves that last about 10 to 20 minutes. You may have noticed the intensity of your cravings has subsided over the month. The longer you go without smoking, the less intense your cravings will become. Eventually, they will disappear completely.
In the meantime, try to distract yourself when cravings arrive. Call a friend, chew some gum, head out for a walk, or grab a glass of water. Remember, the cravings will pass in a matter of minutes.
A note on coughing and chest pain
While most physical withdrawal symptoms will have disssipated one month after quitting smoking, coughing can persist in some cases.
As mentioned, the cilia are working hard to clear toxins from your lungs, and this process can take a while. Coughing is actually a good sign — it indicated that your lungs are beginning to function normally again.
You may find that your persistant coughing is causing chest pain. If your cough isn’t improving or you’re experiencing chest pain, make an appointment with your doctor. They will be able to check if another condition may be causing these symptoms.
A Final Word
With one smoke-free month under your belt, you’ve made it through the hardest phase of the quitting journey. Celebrate your achievement — it’s no easy feat!
Remember that the longer you go without smoking, the more benefits you’ll encounter.
- Three months after quitting, a woman’s fertility improves and the risk of premature birth reduces significantly.
- One to two years after quitting, your risk of heart disease drops again. Within three to sice years, your risk is half of what it was when you smoked.
- Five years after you quit, your risk of lung cancer is half of what it was when you smoked.
- Ten years after you quit, your risk of developing mouth, easophogal, bladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancers decrease.
- After fifteen years, your risk of heart attack and stroke is the same as the risk for someone who’s never smoked.
You’re well positioned to continue on the road towards a healthier future.
If you are experiencing any bothersome withdrawal symptoms or would like additional support, you can book a free, bulk-billed telehealth consultation with a specialist-trained GP on our website.