When you smoke a cigarette you release thousands of harmful chemicals into your body. But what happens when you quit smoking? The good news is that even if you’ve smoked for years, you can still reverse this damage and experience the many benefits of quitting smoking right now. Our quit smoking timeline below shows a day-by-day look at the many health benefits that begin within only 20 minutes after you stop smoking and continue for years afterwards.
A Quit Smoking Timeline: What Happens When You Quit
Twenty minutes after you quit smoking your heart rate and blood pressure decrease and blood circulation starts improving. Fibers in the bronchial tubes will start to move again, which benefits the lungs by removing irritants and bacteria, reducing infection risk.
Eight hours after you stop smoking the nicotine levels in your bloodstream decrease by over 93%. Carbon monoxide returns to normal levels and oxygen levels increase, which better nourishes tissues and blood vessels.
One day after you quit smoking you risk of heart attack decreases due to the reduced constriction of veins and arteries and increased oxygen levels, which improve heart function.
Two days after you quit smoking damaged nerve endings begin to regrow and your sense of smell and taste begin to improve. Also, irritability and anxieties begin to decrease.
Three days after smoking cessation your symptoms of chemical withdrawal begin to decrease. Your breathing becomes easier as the bronchial tubes inside your lungs start to relax and open up. Also, your lung capacity increases, which improves the ability of your lungs to fill up with air.
One week after stopping smoking is an important milestone because former smokers who make it to this point are nine times more likely to successfully quit smoking for good.
Two to four weeks after you quit smoking the psychological effects of nicotine withdrawal will stop. Due to improved circulation and oxygenation you will also be able to walk easier. Also, your lung function increases 30% at this point.
One month after smoking cessation your overall energy levels improve and smoking-related symptoms, such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath from exercise decreases. Lung fibers have begun growing back, which reduces excess mucus buildup and your protection against bacterial infections improves.
The one month milestone on the quit smoking timeline is also when medical professionals officially consider someone to be a “quitter”.
Three months after you quit smoking, a woman’s fertility improves and the risk of premature birth for her baby decreases.
Six months after you quit smoking, you will produce much less mucus and phlegm when coughing because the inflammation in your airways has decreased. You can also handle stress better without feeling the need to smoke.
One year after you quit smoking your risk of heart attack, stroke and coronary heart disease have dropped to half that of a smoker. Your lungs will have undergone dramatic health improvements in capacity and functioning, which will make it much easier for you to breathe while exerting yourself. You will also have saved a large amount of money. If you smoked a pack of cigarettes a day previously, you’ll have saved over $10,000 on average in the first year.
Three years after you quit smoking your risk of heart attack has reduced to that of a non-smoker.
Five years after you stop smoking your risk of stroke and adult onset diabetes is that of a non-smoker. Also, your risk of dying from lung cancer reduces by half compared to a smoker.
Ten years after you stop smoking your risk of dying from lung cancer reduces to similar levels of a non-smoker. Cells in your body that were precancerous have been replaced with healthy cells. Your risk of other cancers, such as cancers of the esophagus, mouth, bladder, pancreas and kidneys is greatly reduced.
Fifteen years after you quit smoking your risk of coronary lung disease is similar to a person who has never smoked. Also, your risk of heart attack and stroke has decreased to similar levels of a non-smoker.
As this quit smoking timeline shows, the benefits of stopping smoking begin within minutes and your health will continue day-by-day for years to come. With so many resources available, such as quit smoking apps, there has never been a better time to give up tobacco and take control of your health. For more information on the health effects of smoking, be sure to visit the CDC website.