With Stoptober just around the corner, what better time is there to stop smoking? Now with the new legislation prohibiting smoking in a car with children under the age of 18 present, there are more reasons than ever to quit.

Everyone has different motivations for wanting to quit smoking, here we want to fully inform you of the damage you do to your body every time you light up. But we’ll also tell you how quickly your body can repair itself once you’ve stopped.

Smoking has a detrimental effect on an individual and those around them, but stopping early enough can mean your body will be able to repair the majority of what damage has been done.

Reduce the damage done to your Cardiovascular System:

This is the body’s system responsible for the delivery of blood; it mainly involves the heart, veins and arteries.

The toxins in cigarettes make your blood thicken and narrow your arteries, resulting in high blood pressure and an increased risk of blood clots. Smoking also has an impact on the levels of cholesterol in the blood, by reducing the amount of positive cholesterol (HDL) and increasing the potentially negative cholesterol (LDL). This can increase the risk of high blood pressure and clotting of the blood. Some of the main chemicals ingested through smoking - nicotine and carbon monoxide - replace some of the oxygen in the blood and put unnecessary stress on the heart.

This results in an increased risk of serious health problems such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease and cardiac arrhythmia.

When you stop smoking your cardiovascular system begins to repairs itself after just twenty minutes which is when your heart rate returns to normal. After two hours your blood pressure returns to normal.

As time goes on the greater the benefits of quitting emerge. Just twenty-four hours after your last cigarette, the risk of having a heart attack will begin to drop and after a year you will be 50% less likely to have heart disease than someone who does smoke.

After three weeks your circulation will have improved massively and will have noticeable effects. Most people feel more healthy and awake.

The ultimate benefit of quitting on your cardiovascular system is that after fifteen years your risk of coronary heart disease will be the same as a non-smoker, increasing your chances of a healthier, longer life.

Reduce the damage done to your Respiratory System:

This is the system that distributes oxygen through the body, while working with the cardiovascular system.

Enormous damage is done to the lungs, which play a key role in this system. Narrowing of the bronchi - the main airway passage in to the lungs - and narrowing of arteries increases the risk of emphysema and lung cancer. Further damage is done by the tar which remains in the lungs and increases the likelihood of chronic obstructive lung disease. The inhalation of carbon monoxide means less oxygen is being absorbed by the lungs.

Due to the effect of smoking on the cardiovascular system; the body’s ability to deal with these chemicals is compromised because of the significantly lower levels of oxygen in the blood.

Here’s why you should quit: Only twelve hours after you last cigarette, the levels of carbon monoxide in the body will have dropped to their normal levels and oxygen levels will increase. This means your body can begin to function as it should.

After two weeks, most lung functions will have greatly improved and will continue to improve for the next eight and a half months.

After nine months you should notice you will cough less and breathing will be easier. But the greatest benefit of quitting will be after ten years of being smoke free your risk of lung cancer will be halved.

Reduce the damage done to your Nervous System:

This is the system that transmits nerve signals throughout the body.

Narrowing of the blood vessels and thickening of blood results in high blood pressure, therefore the likelihood of a stroke, due to unwanted blood clotting is increased. This can lead to brain damage.

High blood pressure can also result in brain aneurysms (a bulge in the blood vessel caused by weakness of the wall). If this bulge bursts, it is called subarachnoid haemorrhage (bleeding into the brain).

Reduce the damage done to your Reproductive System:

The poor blood flow caused by smoking can result in impotence, testicular cancer and sperm damage in men. In women, the ability to fight against HPV infection is diminished and the likelihood of cervical cancer is increased.  A female smoker’s fertility is only 72% that of a female non-smoker, meaning there it is less likely she will be able to become pregnant.

Smoking while pregnant is extremely damaging, for both the mother and child. The likelihood of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth are all increased. It has also been reported that smoking can make cot death 25% more likely.

Reduce the damage done to your Digestive System:

As well as impacting on bad breath, stained teeth and sense of taste, cancer of the lips, tongue, voice box and gullet are all greatly increased.

Due to the lack of oxygen delivered to the stomach and intestines weak muscle structure can cause regular acid reflux and stomach ulcers. The impact of blood flow and oxygen is also a factor that contributes to the increased likelihood of stomach and intestinal cancer. There is also a significant increase in risk of cancer of the kidneys.

Your body will begin to repair the damage done to your digestive system 48 hours after your last cigarette, this is when your sense of taste will begin to repair.

After 5 years your risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder will halved.

Your Road to Recovery!

Upon quitting smoking your body will start returning to its normal function and you will have a greater likelihood of living a longer, healthier life.

The end result is that non-smokes live an average of 14 years longer than smokers and there is an increasing amount of help and support for those who wish to stop smoking.

If you need help starting on your road to recovery sign up to Stoptober, where Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi, Bill Bailey and Rhod Gilbert are waiting to help you stop smoking.

Sign up now for free support and exclusive content.