Smoking - the benefits of quitting

It’s good for your health

Everyone knows you feel better when you give up smoking. But did you know that the health benefits kick in almost immediately and accumulate over time? Here’s a summary of what happens to your body when you quit (Data source: US Surgeon General’s Office):

benefits of quitting

  • After 20 minutes: your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. Circulation improves in hands and feet.
  • After 8 hours: oxygen levels in the blood return to normal and your chance of heart attack starts to fall.
  • After 24 hours: poisonous carbon monoxide gas is eliminated from the body. The lungs start to clear out mucous and other debris.
  • After 48 hours: nicotine is no longer detectable in the body. Taste and smell improve.
  • After 72 hours: breathing becomes easier as the bronchial tubes relax and energy levels increase.
  • After 2 weeks: circulation improves, making walking and exercise easier.
  • After 3 to 9 months: coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing are reduced dramatically.
  • After 5 years: risk of heart attack falls to that of a non-smoker.
  • After 10 years: risk of lung cancer falls to about half that of a smoker.

Remember, quitting smoking may well be the single most important thing you can do to improve your health.

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Further information

For information and support on how to quit smoking: