Between 400,000 and 500,000 smokers quit smoking each year. To help you take the plunge, here is the list of all the health and wellness benefits of quitting smoking. They are numerous ! Discover them with Dr Pierre Rouzaud, toxicologist and president of the Tabac et Liberté association.

When you ask smokers, just over half of them say they want to quit, and 30% even plan to make that decision within a year. To encourage them to quit and to reassure them in their decision, here is the list of all the benefits of the act of permanently stopping your cigarette.

Quitting smoking: the short-term benefits

No need to wait days, weeks or years to see the first positive results of quitting smoking.

Between 8 hours and 48 hours

Smoking involves breathing carbon monoxide from the incomplete combustion of cigarettes. "When you stop smoking, there is no more carbon monoxide in the red blood cells," explains Dr. Pierre Rouzaud, toxicologist and president of the Tabac et Liberté association. Red blood cells return to their normal function. Blood pressure is normalized. And within 24 hours, there is no carbon monoxide at all. In just two days, nicotine is completely metabolized. Being a foreign body, it is eliminated. "

In a week

Many smokers need to be generous with salt, pepper, spices… because tobacco tends to spoil the taste.

Good news, "in 8 days of quitting smoking, the taste and smell come back," says the toxicologist.

Former smokers will once again be able to appreciate the full flavor of food.

Smoking cessation: the medium-term benefits

In 3 to 9 months

The benefits keep increasing and are now showing up in vital organs like the lungs, heart.

“Between 3 and 9 months, lung function returns to normal activity,” warns Dr. Rouzaud. The cough decreases, the ex-smoker regains breath. And that's not all ! In about six months, the stress due to the fear of not having enough cigarettes dissipates, announces the toxicologist, and allows you to be more serene. "

After a year

Smoking causes vasoconstriction of the arteries with each puff of cigarettes. "When you quit smoking, the arteries don't 'spasm,' the toxicologist tells us. The risk of a heart attack is reduced overnight, and after 5 years it is 50%. "

After 5 years

The time to see the risk of stroke decreases is a little longer. “It takes, indeed, 5 years to see it decrease by 50%, says Dr. Rouzaud. It is also after this time that the risk of developing cancer of the mouth, esophagus, bladder is halved. "

Quitting smoking: the long-term benefits

Between 10 and 15 years

“At the end of 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is halved, specifies the toxicolococcus. And after 15 years of quitting smoking, you have the same risks as anyone who has never smoked. "

These figures are the official figures. "In reality, these benefits are variable," warns the doctor.

Smoking cessation: the benefits for pregnant women

About 20% of pregnant women continue to smoke during their pregnancy, including more than 17% in the third trimester, despite the appearance of a crossed out “pregnant woman” pictogram on cigarette packs. Tobacco exposes them and their unborn babies to dangers of which they are not always aware.

"Women are advised to stop smoking before conception," recalls Dr Rouzaud. However, it is never too late to do so, especially when you are pregnant. The benefits are many: "Stopping smoking during pregnancy lowers the risk of miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation, risk of premature labor. "And the benefits continue after birth:" a mother who wants to breastfeed will produce more milk if she does not smoke, "warns the doctor.

 What are the other benefits of stopping smoking?

More money !

The first benefit is not health and smokers never think about it. Which one is it? "It is financial, says Dr. Rouzaud, but it is not often cited by ex-smokers." However, with the amount saved (10 euros per package), it makes it possible to afford a nice gift! So that can be a motivation to quit.

Better self-esteem

Another benefit, "the pride of having successfully quit smoking," says the toxicologist. It is proof of willpower, of self-confidence: we were stronger than cigarettes, which is an important rewarding feeling for each individual. "

A more serene environment

Even if they don't always say it, children of parents who smoke may be worried about their mother's health, their father's health, fear that they will become seriously ill. So when they no longer see a pack of cigarettes entering the house, they are relieved.

“As for parents, they have more time and more energy, especially to play sports with their children! », Specifies Dr Rouzaud.

A good look!

Gray complexion, dark circles under the eyes, wrinkles… Smoking leaves traces on the face. And while these inconveniences do not affect men, they do affect women who never want to look their age.

"When you quit smoking, the skin is better irrigated, less polluted, and a more crimson complexion," says the toxicologist.

We must not forget, either, the harmful effects of tobacco on the hands. Often the skin between the index and middle fingers is yellowed. "It's the tobacco smoke that gets embedded in it," says the doctor. It even sometimes tints the nails. But when you quit smoking, with cell renewal, the skin regains its flesh color. "

A healthier mouth

There is, of course, better breath, without the need to chew mint gum or put a sprig of mint in your mouth. But above all, there is a health benefit. "A smoker has a mouth in poor condition," announces the toxicologist, "because the vasoconstriction due to smoking allows poorer irrigation. When you stop smoking, the mouth's ecosystem returns to normal, and the risk of developing gingivitis decreases. We can therefore, once again, display a prettier smile!

Quitting smoking helps regain a strong erection

"One of the causes of male impotence is due to a vascular phenomenon," says Dr. Rouzaud. As the caliber of the artery is narrowed, there is less blood flow in the cavernous bodies and therefore weaker erection. After stopping smoking, men get a normal erection. And women have better fertility. "

Smoking cessation: the health benefits of children

Opening the window in the room, in the car, or smoking on the balcony is not enough to prevent children from being exposed to secondhand smoke. A study, published in the journal Nicotine & tobaco Research in September 2017, shows that the level of cotinine (a product of the metabolism of nicotine) in the urine is twice as high in children of parents who smoke.

"A child exposed to the cigarette smoke of his parents is more likely to suffer from respiratory infections, ear infections, and develop asthma," warns Dr. Rouzaud.

And that's not all ! Researchers from Inserm and Pierre and Marie Curie University have shown that parents of child smokers are more angry, more brawling and develop more anxiety.

Hopefully all of these reasons are enough to convince you to quit smoking. So, good luck with your weaning. And if you don't feel like doing it on your own, don't hesitate to seek help from your doctor, a tobacco specialist, or turn to an association. Also consider using electronic cigarettes, "which is one of the best ways to quit," says Dr Rouzaud. You will be supported in your approach and you will have more chances of seeing it succeed.