How Giving Up Smoking Improves Your Happiness & Quality of Life

15 Jan, 2019

How Giving Up Smoking Improves Your Happiness & Quality of Life

The health benefits of giving up smoking are well known. Almost immediately after quitting cigarettes, the immune system starts to improve, blood circulation begins to recover and lung function improves. In the medium to long term, stopping smoking greatly reduces the risk of contracting lung, oesophageal, kidney, bladder and pancreatic cancer as well as serious conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

More generally though, stopping smoking also has an amazing impact on your emotional and general wellbeing. Here are just some of the ways which giving up smoking will improve your happiness and quality of life.

Giving Up Smoking Improves Your Mental Health

One of the great myths of smoking is that cigarettes help to manage stress and anxiety. In fact, the opposite is the case, with smoking linked to increased levels of anxiety, tension and even depression.

Smokers feel like cigarettes help them to relax because of their nicotine addiction. This means that when they start to crave nicotine they feel anxious and irritable until they have another cigarette, and the craving is satisfied. This means that smokers associate this lift in their mood with smoking, but it actually just the chemicals in cigarettes manipulating brain function. In reality, smoking is the cause of the anxiety in most cases, not the solution!

People with mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and schizophrenia are more likely to smoke, and to smoke more heavily. What’s more, they often need higher doses of medicines and antidepressants because of the impacts of smoking on these medications. Health experts tell us that quitting smoking will significantly improve mood, emotional wellbeing and control the symptoms and effects of mental health problems.

Physical Activity Will Be Easier

Once you quit smoking, breathing literally becomes easier. As soon as you have your last cigarette, oxygen levels in the blood begin to improve almost immediately as the bronchial tubes start to open up. Experts tell us that following stopping smoking, lung function improves up to 30% within 2 weeks.

This reduces breathlessness, making physical activity easier and improving energy levels. This means that you will be able to participate in physical activity which seemed difficult or even impossible before, whether exercising, play sport or simply having a more active lifestyle in general.

In turn, evidence shows that people who exercise have better emotional wellbeing and are happier in general. When you exercise you release Dopamine into the brain, the primary chemical which makes us feel happy. Being more motivated to participate in activities also improves your social life and builds stronger connections with your friends and family, which are also key to happiness and a great quality of life.

You Will Have More Disposable Income

With the current cost of a pack of cigarettes in the UK, for example, being around £10.40, regular smokers who smoke a pack a day are looking at an annual cost of £3796. Imagine what you could do with that amount of money if you weren’t spending it on smoking!

Having extra disposable income means you can spend this on things which you enjoy – outings with your family, fun activities with your friends or even save up for a vacation to an exotic destination. All of this is practically guaranteed to improve your happiness and quality of life.

It Will Revitalise Your Senses

According to scientific research, smoking cigarettes affects your senses of taste and smell, because the chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the nerve endings in the nose and mouth. Additionally, cigarettes contain tar which coats the tongue and nasal passages, further dulling these senses.

This happens so gradually that many smokers may not even notice the loss of taste and smell, until they stop smoking and they can taste things again! Nerve endings in the nose and mouth start to recover within 48 hours of ceasing smoking, and sense of taste and smell begins to recover.

This means that once you quit smoking you will be able to truly taste food again, and enjoy the smells around you, greatly improving your quality of life.

Quitting Doesn’t Have To Be Torture

Many smokers are put off from quitting by the idea of going cold turkey. Stopping smoking overnight without using any tools to assist you can be very challenging. Nicotine withdrawal is extremely common, which, along with intense nicotine cravings, can cause tingling in the hands and feet, nausea, abdominal cramping, headaches, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Studies have recommended that smokers use e-cigarettes to help them to quit. Smoking e-cigarettes, also known as vaping, means that smokers can receive their nicotine hit without the harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke. Additionally, e-liquids are available with different levels of nicotine, meaning smokers can gradually step down their nicotine intake. One of the misconceptions around vaping is that is dangerous or harmful to health. In the UK, vaping is regulated by the UK government’s TPD rules which control how e-cigarettes and accessories can be sold in the UK meaning that consumers can have faith in the quality and safety of the products they are buying.

Giving up smoking has many benefits for your mind, body and soul, and the improvements to your happiness and quality of life shouldn’t be underestimated. With more methods available than ever to make quitting easier, there is no excuse for not stopping smoking for a happier, healthier life today!