cigarette in ashtray

What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

According to the American Cancer Society and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as soon as you snuff out that final cigarette, the body begins a series of changes:

  • Within 20 minutes, the blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal. Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
  • Within eight hours, carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal and oxygen levels in blood rise to normal. Smoker’s breath disappears.
  • Within 24 hours, chance of heart attack decreases.
  • Within 48 hours, nerve endings start regrowing. Ability to taste and smell enhances.
  • Within three days, breathing is easier.
  • Within two to three months, circulation improves. Walking becomes easier. Lung function increases up to 30 percent.
  • Within one to nine months, you’ll cough less. Sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease. The cilia that sweep debris from the lungs will grow back. You’ll feel more energetic.
  • Within one year, excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • Within two years, heart attack risk drops to near normal.
  • Within five years, lung cancer death rate for average former smoker (of one pack a day) decreases by almost half. Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker five to 15 years after quitting. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker’s.
  • Within 10 years, lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a non-smoker’s. Precancerous cells are replaced. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.
  • Within 15 years, risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.