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Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of preventable death, and it also leads to several health complications. However, even with the knowledge of the adverse effects of smoking, most people find it difficult to quit this habit. 

Many people considering quitting smoking fear that it would take them a long while to notice an improvement in their health and general well-being, so they feel quitting smoking has no use. However, the timeline to get over the health effects of smoking is faster than many people think. 

You can begin to see the health benefits of quitting smoking from an hour after your last cigarette, and these benefits continue to increase as weeks, months, and years go by. 

Facts about quitting smoking you should know 

Below are important things you should know if you plan on quitting smoking.

Quitting smoking means that you’d be breaking a cycle of addiction and rewiring your brain to stop longing for nicotine, so you can avoid the risks of smoking.

  • To be successful in stopping smoking, you need to retrain your smoker’s brain so that you don’t get cravings anymore.” 
  • The earlier you stop smoking, the faster you reduce the risk of health issues like lung disease, heart disease, and cancer. 
  • The benefits of quitting smoking begin from an hour after taking the last cigarette. 


The benefits of quitting smoking occur almost immediately. When you stop smoking, the body will start recovering in the following ways. 

After one hour 

In about 20 minutes after your last cigarette, the heart rate will drop and return to normal. As the blood pressure levels drop, blood circulation may improve. 

After 12 hours 

Cigarettes contain several toxins such as carbon monoxide, a harmful gas in cigarette smoke. When taken in high doses, carbon monoxide prevents oxide from entering the blood and extending, including causing other harmful reactions in the body. When inhaled in a large quantity within a short period, this gas can cause suffocation due to a lack of oxygen. 

When your body doesn’t get carbon monoxide after 12 hours, the body begins to cleanse itself from excess carbon monoxide obtained from cigarettes. Within this period, the level of carbon monoxide in the body will return to normal, increasing the oxygen level in the body. 

After one day 

After a day from quitting smoking, the risk of having a heart attack begins to reduce. Smoking increases the risk of developing heart conditions such as coronary heart disease by lowering the level of good cholesterol in the body. This makes engaging in exercises to improve heart health more difficult. 

Smoking also increases blood pressure, blood clots and the risk of having a stroke. Within 24 hours of quitting smoking, blood pressure begins to drop, reducing the risk of heart disease from smoking-induced high blood pressure. 

As the oxygen levels in the body increase, engaging in physical activities and exercises becomes easier, so you can carry out these activities to improve your heart health. 

After two days 

Smoking can damage the nerve endings responsible for taste and smell. After two days of quitting smoking, you may experience a heightened sense of smell and taste things better. 

After three days 

From the third day of quitting smoking, the level of nicotine in the body begins to drop. The initial reduction in nicotine level can cause nicotine withdrawal. Within this period, many people experience irritability, severe headaches, moodiness and nicotine cravings. 

After one month 

Within a month, the lungs begin to heal, and their function begins to improve. Some smokers begin to experience reduced shortness of breath and coughing. Endurance to exercise and physical activities such as jumping and running improves. 

After 1 – 3 months 

Generally, body function begins to improve as circulation becomes better. 

After nine months 

After about nine months, the lungs would have healed significantly as the delicate hair-like structure inside the lungs, called cilia, recovered. This hair-like structure helps to remove mucus from the lungs and fight infections. 

Within nine months, many smokers experience a reduction in the frequency of lung infections because the cilia now function better. 

After one year 

The risk of coronary heart disease reduces by half within a year. The risk of heart disease will continue to decrease. 

After five years 

Cigarettes contain toxins that narrow the blood vessels and arteries and increase the risk of developing blood clots. 

After five years of quitting smoking, the body would have healed enough for the blood vessels and arteries to widen to their normal size. Widening of the blood vessels and arteries reduces the risk of blood clots and stroke. 

After ten years 

After ten years, the body heals more, reducing the risk of stroke. The risk of having lung cancer and dying from it is reduced by half. The risk of mouth, pancreatic and throat cancer also reduces significantly. 

After 15 years 

After 15 years of avoiding smoking, the risk of developing coronary heart disease and pancreatic cancer is equal to that of a non-smoker. 

After 20 years 

The risk of death from smoking-related causes such as cancer and lung disease reduces to that of non-smokers. 

Benefits of quitting smoking 

Smoking is a known harmful habit that leads to different health complications and death in some cases. When you stop smoking, your body will gradually heal and adjust to having no nicotine. 

With time, the body will regain its vitality, and the risks of some health complications will reduce to that of non-smokers. Some changes, such as lower blood pressure, can occur immediately after you quit smoking, while others, like reduced risk of lung disease, will gradually occur. 


Each year of avoiding smoking has a significant impact on your general health and well-being. Quitting smoking is an excellent choice for anyone, and although it may seem difficult at first, your body will gradually adjust to the changes. You will enjoy the several benefits of living a smoke-free life.