What quitting smoking will do for your health

A road map of steps your body will experience on the way to a smokefree life. When quitting smoking the benefits can happen as early as the first few hours after you quit. Here are some of the health milestones you can expect if you quit smoking today.

Published: Saturday 13 October 2018

  • After 20 minutes
    Your blood pressure and heart rate begin to return to normal levels.
  • After 2 Hours
    Blood circulation begins to improve.
  • After 12 hours
    Oxygen levels begin to return to normal as carbon monoxide, which is present in cigarette smoke, decreases making breathing easier.
  • After Day 1
    Along with increased oxygen levels, the blood vessels begin to widen and your risk of a heart attack decreases.
  • After Day 2
    Sense of smell and taste start to improve as nerves begin to repair.
  • After Day 3
    Breathing continues to improve as the bronchial tubes open up making air exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen more efficient. Changes in mood may occur, such as irritability, as this is when the nicotine levels have decreased, and it is one of the more difficult days as cravings increase as the body adapts.
  • After Day 10
    Cravings are less, and smokers who have not had a cigarette for more than one week are drastically more likely to successfully quit.

  • After two to three weeks
    Circulation and Lung function would have greatly improved by up to as much as 30 percent, improving breathing and making exercise easier.
  • After 9 months
    Once you have reached this milestone, you may have noticed coughing less mucus and phlegm and experiencing less lung infections as the lungs have had a chance to repair and are not inflamed by the cigarette smoke and chemicals.
  • After 3 years
    The chances of a heart attack, heart disease or stroke are equal to that of a non smoker as the flow of oxygen to the heart has greatly improved and the blood vessels are less constricted.
  • After 5 years
    Risk of death by lung cancer would have decreased by half compared to a smoker.
  • After 10 years
    Your risk of other forms of cancer such as mouth, throat and pancreatic drops by half.
  • After 15 years
    The risk of a heart attack, stroke, or heart disease would be equal that of a non smoker.

Iris Barbier

Authored by Iris Barbier

Pharmacy Assistant

A French native, Iris came to the UK to study, graduating from the University of Lincoln with a BSc in Biological Sciences before completing her MA in Science Journalism from London Metropolitan University.

Beginning her career as a journalist specialising in all things science, Iris gravitated toward Pharmacy - enticed by practical use of science in everyday life.

When Iris isn’t speaking with our patients or tailoring expert content for pharmica.co.uk, you can find her buried in a Harry Potter book or kicking back to watch the latest epic fantasy movie.

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