What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline - Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc.
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What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

What Happens When You Quit Smoking: A Timeline

Following through on your decision to quit smoking is hard. Especially in the beginning. But, if you can tough it out through those crucial first few days and weeks, your body and health will reward you later. You don’t have to wait long to start noticing (good) changes in your body. In fact, your health begins improving just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Here’s what you can expect.

20 Minutes

Your blood pressure and pulse rates return to normal a mere 20 minutes after your last puff. Your hands and feet warm to normal temperature, too. 

8 – 12 Hours

Your blood now contains half the nicotine and carbon monoxide it had after your last smoke. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to feel this change through cravings and doubts about quitting. Push through it. These cravings typically only last about 5-10 minutes. Four short hours later, your heart is rejoicing because it no longer has to pump as hard. Your carbon monoxide levels are also now completely normal.

24-48 Hours

Your risk of a heart attack has lowered after just one day. After 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste have sharpened as the nerve endings in your nose and tongue heal. Your lungs are also expelling nasty mucus and gunk. You may feel tired, hungry, anxious, or dizzy. These are normal withdrawal symptoms. Warning: These symptoms will worsen before they get better. Keep going. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice great improvement. If you have asthma, you may experience worsened symptoms in the first 48 hours. This is also normal and symptoms typically improve around day 3.

72 Hours

By day three your lungs are stronger and clearer. The fatigue you felt the day before is gone and you’ll have notably more energy.

Two Weeks to Three Months

The worst withdrawal symptoms should be over and your risk of a heart attack continues to decrease. Your blood flow has already improved and if you exercise you’ll notice you are less winded. 

Three to Nine Months

Your breathing is deeper and clearer. Your coughs are now helpful and you’ll likely have fewer colds and other respiratory illnesses. 

One Year

Congratulations! You’ve hit a major milestone. Your body rewards you with a better heart. Your risk of heart disease is cut in half. Celebrate your achievement!

Five Years

In half a decade, your risk of a stroke and cervical cancer are equivalent to that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, and bladder cancer has also decreased by half. 

10 Years

You are now half as likely to die of lung cancer as a smoker. Your risk of developing laryngeal or pancreatic cancer has dropped significantly. 

15 Years

Your chances of heart disease are now the same as a person who has never smoked. Time to celebrate again!

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