"24 Hours: Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
It's been 17 days since my last cigarette. I haven't missed the actual cigarettes but I do miss the ritual around it; I sometimes pause when I'm at my desk and think:"Something's missing. Something's gone from my day," and it will niggle at me like a paper cut for a while. Sometimes I'll pass my regular newsagents and think "I should pick up some cigarettes before I get on the tube / go to the office / turn the corner to go home," and realise I can't do that anymore. I don't need to. I no longer smoke. I'm a non-smoker.
48 Hours: There is no nicotine left in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved."
It was strange at first, I felt like I was a different person because I no longer smoked - for so long now, there's only been one Hypatia and she always had a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and could always be relied upon to be in the darkest corner of the bar, talking the loudest and being the most extravagant with her hand gestures, scattering ash and spreading smoke everywhere. I sit in the cleaner and better lit parts of pubs now, and really dislike having smokers near me when I'm eating. Only 17 days and I'm suddenly precious about my lungs and tastebuds and sense of smell, after 8 years of recklessly abusing them. It's good to know what happens when you quit smoking - I'm amazed at how quick the nicotine leaves the body, and I'm ashamed that it has taken me this long to do it. Incidentally, it's been cold turkey all the way - no gum, no patches, no sugar free mints. I just stopped.
It's a new adventure - and I'm facing it with a window seat in the non-smoking section. Go, Hypatia, go!
Congratulations, exclamations of horror and / or encouragement in the comments below, thankyouverymuch.