Benefits of quitting

Within 20 minutes of quitting smoking your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

What happens after you quit smoking?

  • 20 minutes
    • Blood pressure returns to normal.
    • Pulse drops to normal.
    • Body temperature of hands and feet return to normal.
  • 1 hour
    • Your resting heart rate and blood pressure begin to decrease.
  • 4 hours
    • Breath becomes fresher.
  • 8 hours
    • Levels of the toxic gas carbon monoxide in blood drops to normal.
    • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal.
    • Within 8 hours your finger tips are warmer and excess carbon monoxide has left your blood.
  • 12 hours
    • Almost all of the nicotine is out of your system.
  • 24 hours
    • Chance of heart attack begins to decrease.
  • 48 hours
    • Nerve endings start to regrow.
    • Ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
    • You will notice your hair and clothes smell fresher as your sense of smell and taste improves.
  • 5 days
    • Most nicotine by-products have left your body.
    • Your liver and kidneys are working more efficiently.
  • 1 week
    • Your lungs' natural cleaning system starts to heal and become better at eliminating tobacco toxins.
  • 1 month
    • Circulation improves.
    • Lung function increases up to 30%.
  • 3 months
    • The tobacco stains on your fingers begin to fade.
    • Skin appearance begins to improve.
  • 9 months
    • Coughing, sinus congestion, and shortness of breath all decrease.
    • Cilia begins to regrow in the lungs, increasing ability to "clean lungs".
    • The body's overall energy increases.
    • Your lungs are producing less mucus and functioning more efficiently.
    • Immune system is better at fighting off colds and flu. You are likely to be experiencing less coughing.
  • 1 year
    • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • 5 years
    • Lung cancer risk decreases by almost half.
    • Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5-15 years after quitting.
  • 10 years
    • Lung cancer risk is similar to that of non-smokers.
    • Pre-cancerous cells are replaced by healthy cells.
    • Risk of other cancers decrease.
  • 15 years
    • Risk of a heart attack and stroke is almost the same as that of a non-smoker.
Page last updated: 7 Jun 2017