Of all the addictions, nicotine from smoking cigarettes is one of the hardest to kick. While every substance addiction poses its own special health and societal problems, cigarettes have gone from once being socially accepted everywhere, to now being unacceptable almost everywhere in the United States. Many other countries are currently following our lead in stamping out cigarette smoking.

The health risks from smoking cigarettes have been widely known for decades, but most addicted smokers pay little attention to the warnings until it is too late.

According to the CDC, cigarette smoking accounts for nearly half a million deaths each year in the U.S., more than drugs and alcohol, auto accidents, suicides and murders – combined.

Smoking cigarettes causes 80% to 90% of all lung cancer deaths each year, and it’s estimated that smoking causes 30% of all cancer deaths.

With such alarming statistics, it’s a wonder that anyone still smokes cigarettes. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance, that’s not only hard to quit, it’s even harder to avoid relapse.

But there is good news for those that make an effort to quit smoking. The infographic below produced by the American Cancer Society (http://www.cancer.org) shows what happens over a fifteen-year period when a smoker quits smoking cigarettes.

The effects take place almost immediately, and within 20 minutes after quitting, heart rate and blood pressure return to normal levels.

Circulation and lung function improve after only two weeks of quitting, and within one year, the risk of heart disease is cut in half.

Ten years after a smoker quits cigarettes, the risk of lung cancer is cut in half, and at 15 years, the risk of heart disease returns to normal – the same as that of a non-smoker.

Substance abuse poses numerous mental and physical issues, but once it reaches the level of addiction, it becomes more difficult to quit and overcome the associated complications. It’s almost never too late to quit, but doing so sooner, rather than later, offers more chances for success.

quit smoking15 years

To view a larger version of this infographic, visit Daily Infographic at: http://dailyinfographic.com/what-happens-when-smokers-quit-infographic.