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Health Benefits Achieved When You Quit Smoking

We all know that smoking is bad for your health. I could say that until I couldn’t talk anymore, but is me telling you that again, really going to be the push you need. Maybe? For those of you that it is, I will say it: SMOKING IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH. Now for the rest of you that are saying, “yeah, yeah I know.” I hope that maybe when you see how quickly you can change your health by quitting you may have a different attitude.


So, let’s look at this like a time line and you smoke your last cigarette right now:

  • In 20 minutes both your heart rate and blood pressure will decrease

  • Within 8 hours smoker’s breath disappears and oxygen levels rise to normal levels

  • Within 12 hours carbon monoxide (the bad gas that kills people, in garages, when the car runs with the door closed) levels return to healthy levels

  • Within 24 hours there is a decrease in the risk of a heart attack

  • Within 48 hours nerve endings start to regroup (meaning they are healing) and your ability to taste and smell improve.

  • Within 3 days breathing is easier – you could run without wheezing.

  • Between days 5 and 10 you will notice a decrease in the number of your nicotine cravings

  • In 2-3 weeks both circulation and lung function (breathing ability) improve

  • In the 1-9 months’ timeframe you will see many more benefits including: Less coughing and shortness of breath due to the lungs continued improvement and healing; Circulation improves; Walking becomes easier; Decrease in sinus congestion; You’ll feel less fatigued and have more energy; Risk of respiratory infections goes down; Even cilia grow back (Cilia are what sweep debris from the lung and so when they grow back the lungs are able to get more mucus out and clean the lungs).

  • At the 1-year mark both the risk of heart attack and coronary heart disease decrease significantly

  • At the 5-year mark the body has had enough healing for the arteries and blood vessels to begin to widen again. Also, the risk of mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder cancer is cut in half. While risk of cervical cancer and stroke are down to that of a non-smoker.

  • At the 10 year mark the risk of dying from lung cancer is 50% that of a current smoker; along with that the risk of pancreas and larynx cancer is also decreased.

  • At 15 years the risk of coronary disease is the same as that of a non-smoker


I always like to point this out to those that I’m helping quit for 2 reasons. The first is for those that have been smoking “forever.” Even if you have been smoking forever your body can still heal itself and you will benefit from quitting. The other is for those that have tried to quit and have started up again. I remind you that there are benefits so early in the process. Even if you quit for one day you have done good for your body and you should be proud. Now look at how much more you could do if you make it longer this time.

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