What Happens To Your Body After Quiting Smoking

Date Added: 01/10/2020

Smoking kills thousands of people every year. Premature death can be prevented by stopping smoking. Whether you are 25 or 70, if you give up smoking, you will already benefit from the first recovery effects after as soon as 20 minutes.

Tobacco use has numerous negative effects on both body and mind. It is a central risk factor for cancer and heart disease, stroke, smoker's cough or smoker's legs. The American Cancer Society provides information about what happens in the body after smoking the last cigarette and why quitting smoking is worthwhile at any age.

This is how our body recovers after going cigarette free

  • 20 minutes after stopping smoking: Heart rate and blood pressure return to normal ranges. Blood circulation improves.
  • 12 hours later: Carbon monoxide content in the blood drops and oxygen content increases.
  • After 24 hours: The risk of suffering a heart attack begins to decrease.
  • Two days after quitting: Sense of smell and taste improve. Fragrances smell more intensely and the food tastes better again.
  • Two weeks to three months later: The circulation is more resilient again and the lung function increases.
  • One to nine months after the stop: Cough and shortness of breath decrease. The sinuses become freer. The cilia in the lungs resume their work and begin to carry the mucus out of the lungs. The risk of infectious diseases decreases.
  • A year without smoking: The risk of developing coronary artery disease is only half that of a smoker. The risk of suffering a heart attack also drops drastically.
  • Five years later: The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and bladder has halved. The likelihood of getting cervical cancer is now at the level of non-smokers. The risk of stroke also drops to the level of non-smokers.
  • Ten years after quitting: The risk of dying from lung cancer is only half as high as at the beginning of the smoking cessation. It also reduces the risk of developing larynx cancer and pancreatic cancer.
  • 15 years smoke free: The likelihood of developing coronary heart disease is the same as that of lifelong non-smokers.

Other general health benefits

According to the American Cancer Society, stopping smoking has other benefits:

  • Diabetes: After giving up smoking, the blood vessels start to work better. This helps the heart and lungs and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Life expectancy: Smokers live on average ten years shorter than non-smokers. People who stop smoking before the age of 40 reduce their risk of dying prematurely from diseases caused by smoking.
  • It is never too late: It is better to stop as early as possible, but giving up at any age can return years of life that you thought were lost.

Immediate effects after a few days

In addition to the health benefits, after the last cigarette there are other advantages that make everyday life more pleasant:

  • You could save up to £1500 a year by ditching cigarettes. 
  • Food tastes better.
  • Your sense of smell improves.
  • Breath, hair and clothing won't smell funky all the time anymore.
  • Teeth and fingernails stop turning yellow.
  • Everyday activities such as climbing stairs or doing housework do not quickly lead to shortness of breath.
  • Premature wrinkles and other negative effects on the skin and appearance are reduced.

Help with quitting

Our QuitDAS programme offers FREE smoking cessation guidance and NRT treatment. Click here to learn more about how we can help you quit smoking for good.

Sources: The BMJ and NHS.

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