November 16, 2016

by Mankato Clinic

If you’re looking for an extra nudge to quit smoking, today just might be your day! November 17 is the Great American Smokeout and all week, we’ve been posting tips and facts about what benefits quitting smoking has for your health.

By now, you already know that kicking that nicotine habit will help your lungs, pocketbook and lower your chances of cardiovascular disease, but did you know that it will also drastically improve the areas of eat, move and sleep?

Read on to find out how stubbing out your cigarette can go a long way to increase your overall health.


If you quit smoking, chances are that you’ll soon recover your senses of taste and smell. It’s likely that after just a few days, you’ll take a bite into a healthy dinner and say to yourself, “What I normally eat tastes so much better!”

The reasoning is because the taste buds on individuals that smoke are actually found to be flatter than ones on nonsmokers. Additionally, nicotine affects the function of taste buds, leading smokers to have a decrease in taste sensitivity.


Kicking a nicotine addiction is incredibly difficult, making it a hard habit to break. Luckily, regular physical exercise has actually been proven to help individuals stop smoking. Studies have shown that moderate physical activity, like cardio and aerobic exercise, reduces the urge to smoke.

Withdrawal symptoms and cravings for cigarettes are normal during the time you’re trying to quit, but some people have found that they decrease during exercise and last long as long as 50 minutes post-workout.

Besides being an important part of all of our health routines, exercising while quitting smoking can help distract you from thoughts about smoking, improves moods by releasing endorphins and helps you cope with stress and feel more energetic. The plus side is that as your lungs heal from less nicotine, those cardio exercises will becoming even easier!


You may not know it, but smoking can wreak havoc on the body’s natural sleep routine. A 2011 study found that people who smoke are 2.5 times more likely to also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by the collapse of muscles in the back of the throat during sleep cycles. People who smoke experience this repeated motion of breathing more often because the smoke that’s inhaled irritates the tissues in the nose and throat, causing swelling that further restricts air flow.

In addition, like caffeine, nicotine is both a stimulant and a drug, which means, if consumed too close to bedtime, your sleep is likely to be negatively affected. By quitting smoking, your body’s sleep habits are likely to return to normal.

Quitting smoking is hard, but with the right tools and support, you’ll be smoke-free before you know it! If you’re concerned about your risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes or sleep apnea, please take our short risk assessments at /risk-assessments