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I met a man recently who told me that he had smoked 4 packs of cigarettes per day for 40 years. Until that time, I thought 2 packs per day was shocking, and I wondered to myself if smoking that much was even possible.
At an average of 4 minutes each, it would take approximately 5.5 hours to smoke 80 cigarettes. That’s over 2,000 hours per year. For most people, that’s pretty much every waking minute outside of work in which you have a free hand.
There really wouldn’t be time for much else.
What was even more astonishing than the sheer volume of cigarettes he smoked was that, a few days prior, his cardiologist had reported that his lungs were perfectly healthy. There was no trace of any pulmonary damage since this man had quit smoking 10 years earlier. His lungs had completely repaired themselves.
Life Cycle of Cells
We all know smoking causes disease.
Cigarettes contain over 4,000 poisonous chemicals including formaldehyde, arsenic, tar, cyanide, carbon monoxide, nicotine, ammonia, benzine, acetone, and thousands of others that have never been studied.
Do an internet search on the effects of ingesting or inhaling any one of these substances and you’ll wonder how smokers live beyond the first puff. Without the miraculous ability of the human body to adapt and repair, a cigarette would mean certain death.
The physical toll smoking takes on our appearance is no secret, either.
Wrinkles around the mouth, yellow teeth and fingernails, leathery skin, bad breath, are all tell-tale signs of a cigarette addiction, and many of these effects are irreversible once they reach a certain point.
However, the human body is continually breaking itself down and rebuilding, every second of every day. You aren’t the same you that you were yesterday, and you’ll be a very different you tomorrow. Every organ, gland, tissue, and cell in your body is undergoing a process of repair and adaptation at this very moment, including the lungs, and everyone has the same innate healing ability when given the right tools.
Timeline of Lung Repair After You Quit Smoking
It is because of the never-ending process of cell death and cell generation that we possess the ability to heal and grow in the presence of life’s stressors. Without it, wounds would never mend, babies couldn’t grow, and the most innocuous of bacteria would kill us all.
When you quit smoking…
Within 20 minutes, blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
After 8 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood are reduced to about half and oxygen levels return to normal.
After 48 hours, chances of having a heart attack will already have decreased. All nicotine will have been purged from the body and senses of taste and smell begin to return.
After 72 hours, bronchial tubes will relax and energy levels increase. Lung capacity also increases.
In 2 weeks, circulation is greatly improved and will continue to improve for about 10 weeks.
In 3 to 9 months, lung capacity will improve by about 10% and coughing, wheezing, and breathing problems related to smoking will resolve. Cilia in the lungs regenerate. There is an increased ability to detoxify the lungs and reduced risk of infection.
Pregnant women who quit before the fourth month of pregnancy greatly reduce the risk of stillbirth and low birth weight associated with smoking.
After 1 year, chances of having a heart attack will have decreased by half.
After 5 years, chances of having a stroke will be that of a non-smoker, and chances of mouth and bladder cancer decline as well.
In 10 years, chances of having lung cancer will be that of a non-smoker.
In 15 years, chances of having a heart attack will be that of a non-smoker.
This timeline of lung repair following the cessation of smoking is nothing short of miraculous. The power and intelligence of the human body is our absolute best hope for longevity, vitality, and wellness. Our goal should be to enhance the innate healing ability within by providing the body with the tools necessary for proper function, not to interfere using man-made chemicals and superficial education.
The Age-Old (Tired) Argument
Unfortunately, our modern health care system has convinced millions that the human body is weak, genetically prone to disease, and supposed to fall apart as we age. This is an absolute fallacy. It is impossible to have the slightest understanding of human function and not be convinced to the contrary.
The most important thing anyone can do to ensure optimal health throughout life is to minimize any and all interference with its natural operation.
I’ve heard the argument from people trying to justify their unhealthy choices by stating that they know someone who knows someone who smoked for sixty years and lived to be 98 years old. I’m sure this has happened, but I’m also sure it doesn’t happen very often. We also have to consider that person’s quality of life. I’m sure they weren’t golfing, gardening, and hiking three times a week. They were most likely coughing up phlegm all day and gasping for air every time they walked from the couch to the bathroom.
Breaking any addiction is never easy. In fact, for many it is the most difficult thing they will ever do. Just know that if you garner the willpower one day, you’ll be on the road to wellness within seconds.
For some extra help, certain foods have been known to curb the desire for nicotine and even block the release of feel-good chemicals that promote smoking addiction. Celery, zucchini, cucumber, and eggplant have been said to leave a bitter aftertaste which can reduce nicotine enjoyment, while oranges, lemons, and pomegranates fill a Vitamin C deficiency caused by smoking, thus reducing the body’s cravings. Ginseng has also been shown to block the release of dopamine which can help break dependence. A good Raw Anti-oxidant supplement can detoxify lung tissue and speed recovery, as well.