Smoking not only damages your lungs but also negatively impacts your heart and various other body structures. However, regardless of how long you’ve smoked, you can reverse these effects and start experiencing health benefits as soon as you quit. This article highlights the health milestones you can achieve by quitting smoking today.
20 Minutes After Your Last Cigarette
Within just 20 minutes of smoking cessation, positive health effects begin to emerge. Your blood pressure and pulse gradually return to normal levels. Moreover, the fibers in your bronchial tubes, which were previously impaired by constant exposure to smoke, start functioning again. This restoration helps in the removal of irritants and bacteria from the lungs, reducing the risk of infection.
8 Hours After Your Last Cigarette
Within eight hours, your carbon monoxide levels normalize. Carbon monoxide, present in cigarette smoke, hampers the delivery of oxygen to your tissues by replacing oxygen particles in the blood. Once carbon monoxide diminishes, oxygen levels increase, nourishing the previously deprived tissues and blood vessels.
24 Hours After Your Last Cigarette
Within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack decreases. The constriction of veins and arteries reduces, while oxygen levels rise, supporting the optimal functioning of your heart. At this point, nicotine levels in your bloodstream also diminish significantly.
48 Hours After Your Last Cigarette
After 48 hours, damaged nerve endings in your body begin to regenerate. You may also notice improvements in your senses, including a heightened sense of smell and taste.
72 Hours After Your Last Cigarette
Within three days of quitting smoking, you’ll experience easier breathing. The bronchial tubes in your lungs start to relax and open up, facilitating the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Additionally, your lung capacity increases, allowing them to fill up with air more efficiently.
One Week After Your Last Cigarette
Reaching the one-week mark without smoking is not only important for your immediate health but also for long-term success in quitting. Individuals who successfully abstain from smoking for one week are nine times more likely to quit successfully. Every attempt at quitting smoking increases your chances of long-term success.
Two Weeks After Your Last Cigarette
Around two weeks after quitting, you may notice improved breathing and mobility. Circulation and oxygenation improve, making it easier for you to walk. Your lung function also increases by up to 30 percent during this period.
One Month After Your Last Cigarette
In just one month, you’ll experience various health changes associated with smoking cessation. You’ll feel a heightened sense of overall energy. Additionally, smoking-related symptoms such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath during exercise diminish. The lung fibers responsible for maintaining lung health also start regrowing, reducing excess mucus buildup and protecting against bacterial infections.
Three Months After Your Last Cigarette
Within three months of quitting, women can improve their fertility and reduce the risk of premature birth.
Six Months After Your Last Cigarette
After six months of being smoke-free, you’ll likely find it easier to cope with stress without relying on smoking. Coughing up mucus and phlegm will decrease significantly, as your airways become less inflamed due to the absence of cigarette smoke and harmful chemicals.
One Year After Your Last Cigarette
After one year of quitting smoking, your lung capacity and function will significantly improve. Breathing during physical exertion becomes easier, and coughing decreases compared to when you were a smoker. Alongside these health benefits, you’ll have saved a substantial amount of money. Smoking is an expensive habit, and if you smoked a pack a day, you would have saved thousands of dollars within a year.
Three Years After Your Last Cigarette
Three years after quitting smoking, your risk of heart attack decreases to that of a nonsmoker. Smoking restricts oxygen flow to the heart and damages artery linings. However, quitting smoking helps reverse these effects and promotes a healthier heart in the long run.
Five Years After Your Last Cigarette
After five years of being smoke-free, your risk of lung cancer-related death decreases by 50 percent compared to when you were a smoker.
Ten Years After Your Last Cigarette
At the ten-year mark, your risk of dying from lung cancer is equivalent to that of a nonsmoker. The previously precancerous cells in your body have been replaced with healthy cells. Furthermore, the overall risk of developing smoking-related illnesses, including cancers of the mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidneys, and pancreas, diminishes.
Fifteen Years After Your Last Cigarette
After 15 years without smoking, your risk of heart attack and stroke is equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked. While reversing the effects of smoking takes time, reaching the 15-year milestone signifies significant progress towards better health and well-being.
Given the numerous health benefits associated with quitting smoking, now is the ideal time to quit. Start by creating a plan using resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and consider seeking support from a smoking cessation counselor at 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Engage your doctor, family, and friends to provide encouragement and assistance throughout your journey towards a healthier, smoke-free lifestyle. Remember to celebrate each milestone you achieve along the way because you deserve it.