What happens to my body when I quit smoking?

Thinking of giving up smoking! Curious about the positive changes that will happen to your body for the days, weeks, and years after your last cigarette!

Smokers are at risk of developing many different cancers, coronary heart disease and various lung diseases, as well as increasing their chance of having a heart attack or stroke.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, whether you’re a new smoker or you’ve been smoking for years, it’s never too late to quit. quitting smoking at any time improves your health. When you quit, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily, have more energy, and save money. 

Many people who quit smoking are surprised by how good they feel and how quickly they notice the health benefits. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term health benefits that improve your day-to-day life in many ways. 

Here’s a timeline of the positive changes that will happen to your body once you quit smoking.

20 minutes after your last cigarette

health effects of quitting smoking begin in as little as 20 minutes after your last cigarette. The heart rate drops and returns to normal. Accordingly, your blood pressure will also drop and return to normal. Blood circulation will start to improve, your body temperature stabilises, and temperature of your hands and feet also return to normal.

8 hours after your last cigarette

Cigarettes contain a lot of toxins including carbon monoxide, which can be harmful or fatal in high doses and prevents oxygen from entering the lungs and blood. After eight hours from your last cigarette, the nicotine in your bloodstream drops by over 90% and your body start cleansing itself of the excess carbon monoxide. The level of carbon monoxide is reduced and, your oxygen levels start to increase to more normal levels. This increased oxygen helps nourish tissues and blood vessels and your lung function will begin to improve.

48 hours after your last cigarette

In as little as 2 days after quitting, all carbon monoxide is flushed out. Nicotine leaves your body and your carbon monoxide level drops to zero. Your lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. Your immediate risk of heart attack starts to fall. Smoking damages the nerve endings responsible for the senses of smell and taste. At 48 hours, previously damaged nerve endings start to regrow. You start to notice a heightened sense of smell and more vivid tastes as these nerves heal.

72 hours after your last cigarette

3 days after quitting smoking, the nicotine levels in your body are depleted. This initial depletion can cause nicotine withdrawal. Most people will experience moodiness and irritability, headaches, and cravings as the body readjusts. Meanwhile, after 72 hours of quitting smoking, your bronchial tubes will relax, which makes air exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen easier. Your breathing gets easier and the shortness of breath you often get as a regular smoker will clear up. Your lung capacity to fill up with air also increases about three days after quitting.

2-12 weeks after your last cigarette

In as little as 2 weeks, your blood circulation starts to improve. Your lung function begins to improve. As the lungs heal and lung capacity improves, you may notice less coughing and shortness of breath. Physical activity becomes a lot easier. In addition to these benefits, fibers in the lungs that help keep the lungs healthy are growing back. These fibers can help reduce excess mucus buildup and protect against bacterial infections. Your immune function and circulation to your hands and feet will be improving as well. You may also notice feeling a sense of heightened overall energy.

3-9 months after your last cigarette

Few months after quitting smoking your lungs have significantly healed themselves, and Lung capacity has increased up to 30%. You may also notice that many smoking-related symptoms have decreased, such as sinus congestion and coughing up phlegm. Your immune system will be more able to fight off colds and flu. You will notice around six months after quitting smoking that your stress levels have dropped and your able to handle situation without becoming overwhelmed. You can now notice the fading of tobacco stains on your fingers. Your overall energy levels will be dramatically improved.

One year after your last cigarette

One year after your last cigarette, you will notice general improvements to your body and overall wellbeing. your lungs are much healthier and you’re breathing easily now, no more shortness of breath. One year after quitting smoking, your risk for coronary heart disease decreases by 50%. This risk will continue to drop past the 1-year mark. In addition to these health benefits, you’ll have saved a dramatic amount of money.

5-20 years after your last cigarette

Smoking causes the arteries and blood vessels to narrow, which may increase the likelihood of developing blood clots. 5 years after quitting smoking your blood vessels begin to widen again, making blood clots less likely and lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.

10 years after you quit smoking, the chances of developing lung cancer will drop by 50%.

15 years after you quit smoking, the chances of developing coronary heart disease is the equivalent of a non-smoker.

20 years after you quit smoking, the risk of death from smoking-related causes, including both lung disease and cancer, drops to the level of a person who has never smoked in their life.

Smoking is a bad and harmful habit which may lead to many health complications and death. When you quit smoking, your body will start to naturally heal and regain the vitality of a non-smoker over time.