Health Topics

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is the most important step you can take to protect your lungs. It is never too late to quit. Your body can show drastic improvements within minutes of your last cigarette. Your health can improve and you may feel more lively and energetic. Below is a list of certain health benefits you may receive after quitting smoking.

A Timeline of Your Body After You Quit Smoking

Once you quit smoking, your body will experience changes instantly, as well as long-term health benefits. Visit the listing to below to learn more:

  • After 20 minutes
  • You stop polluting the air.
  • Your blood pressure and pulse decrease.
  • The temperature of your hands and feet increases.
  • After 8 hours
  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to normal.
  • Oxygen levels in your blood increase.
  • After 24 hours
  • Your chance of heart attack decreases.
  • After 48 hours
  • Nerve endings adjust to the absence of nicotine.
  • Your ability to taste and smell begins to return.
  • After 72 hours
  • Bronchial tubes relax.
  • After 2 weeks to 3 months
  • Your circulation improves.
  • Your exercise tolerance improves.
  • After 1-9 months
  • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease.
  • Cilia re-grow, increasing the ability of the lungs to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection.
  • Your overall energy level increases.
  • After 1 year
  • Your risk of heart disease decreases to half that of a current smoker.
  • After 5 years
  • Your risk of stroke is reduced to that of people who have never smoked.
  • After 10 years
  • Risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost the same rate as a lifelong non-smoker.
  • The incidence of other cancers – of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas – decreases.

Quitting Smoking Improves Your Ability to Breathe!

Even nonsmokers experience a decrease in lung capacity (the volume of air you are able to take in and forcibly exhale in one second) with age. However, you can minimize the impact by quitting smoking. The earlier you quit, the more lung capacity you will retain. Here are some facts:

  • If you have smoked an average of 30 cigarettes a day beginning at age 25, your lung capacity can decrease slightly more than a non-smoker and would be below the average capacity of a non-smoker by the time you turn 40.
  • Furthermore, if you are a smoker at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (a lung disease), your lung capacity can decrease rapidly by age 65, at which point you will likely be frequently short of breath.

How Will I Feel When I Quit?

You may crave cigarettes, feel very hungry, cough often, get headaches, have difficulty concentrating, have constipation, feel very tired, have a sore throat or have difficulty sleeping.

Although withdrawal symptoms will be the strongest when you first quit, they should go away within a few weeks.