What Happens When You Quit Smoking?
Health and Wellness

What Happens When You Quit Smoking?

(Image: iStock.com/sam74100)

No doubt about it: Smoking is bad. But what happens when you quit? It all gets better (some of it almost immediately!), trust us.

  • Your blood pressure and heart rate drop to normal 20 minutes after your last cigarette.
  • Two hours after you quit, circulation to your fingers and toes improves. (Note: Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually start about two hours after your last cigarette. Symptoms include cravings, anxiety, trouble sleeping, and increased appetite. These usually ease after two weeks.)
  • Eight to 12 hours after your last puff, the level of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream drops to normal and the oxygen level rises to normal.
  • Your chances of a heart attack decrease–after just 24 hours. The heart attack rate for smokers is 70% higher than for non-smokers.
  • You start to smell and taste things more vividly again after 48 hours without a cigarette.
  • Two to three weeks after you quit, you’ll be able to exercise without feeling winded.
  • At the three-month mark, your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30%.
  • You have increased energy. Coughing and shortness of breath are greatly reduced. You are less likely to contract lung infections. This happens by the nine-month mark.
  • A year after you quit smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • Five years after you dump this bad habit, your risk of esophageal, lung, mouth, and throat cancers drops dramatically. Your risk of having a stroke is the same as your other nonsmoking pals.


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