- Why is it so hard to quit smoking?
- How does smoking affect your health?
- Why quit smoking now?
- When smokers quit – what are the benefits over time?
- What are the immediate rewards of quitting smoking?
- Getting help with the mental part of addiction
- Getting help with the physical part of addiction
- Nicotine replacement therapy
- What are the types of nicotine replacement therapy?
- Choosing and using nicotine replacement therapy
- Prescription drugs to help you quit smoking
- Other methods of quitting smoking
- A word about success rates for quitting smoking
- Steps for long-term success
- Making the decision to quit smoking
- Setting a quit smoking date and making a plan
- Dealing with smoking withdrawal
- Staying smoke-free
- Special concerns after quitting smoking
- To learn more
When smokers quit – what are the benefits over time?
20 minutes after quitting
Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.
(Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension. 2003:41:183)
12 hours after quitting
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202)
2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323)
1 to 9 months after quitting
Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304)
1 year after quitting
The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.
(US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359)
5 years after quitting
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease - The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p 341)
10 years after quitting
The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
(A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease - The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. vi, 155, 165)
15 years after quitting
The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.
(Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007. p 11)
These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good. Quitting smoking lowers the risk of diabetes, lets blood vessels work better, and helps the heart and lungs. Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would be lost by continuing to smoke.
Last Medical Review: 02/06/2014
Last Revised: 02/06/2014