Benefits of Quitting Smoking

For all the struggle of quitting smoking, there are equal, simultaneous rewards! When smokers quit, within twenty minutes of smoking that last cigarette the body begins a series of healing changes.

Immediate Results of Quitting:

At 20 minutes after quitting:

  • blood pressure decreases
  • pulse rate drops
  • body temperature of hands and feet increases

At 8 hours:

  • carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
  • oxygen level in blood increases to normal

At 24 hours:

  • chance of a heart attack decreases

At 48 hours:

  • nerve endings start regrowing
  • ability to smell and taste is enhanced

In the first year after quitting

At 2 weeks to 3 months:

  • circulation improves
  • walking becomes easier
  • lung function increases

1 to 9 months:

  • coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decreases

1 year:

  • excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker

Long-term Benefits of Quitting

At 5 years:

  • from 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked

At 10 years:

  • risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
  • risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:

  • risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
  • risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Sourced From: American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lungusa.org. Accessed May 2005.

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