15 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Body Heals After You Quit Smoking

When you quit smoking and no longer inhale the 4,800 toxic substances found in cigarettes, you experience enormous positive changes in your health, fitness, and risks of heart disease and cancer.

By Andreas Jopp adapted from I Know You Like to Smoke, But You Can Quit—Now

After 20 minutes

Circulation improves in the hands and feet.

Excerpt from I Know You Like to Smoke, But You Can Quit—Now, copyright © Andreas Jopp, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.


After 2 hours

Pulse, heartbeat, and blood pressure normalize. In the case of pregnant women: the heartbeat of the unborn child also returns to normal.


After 8 hours

Carbon monoxide is reduced and no longer stops oxygen from reaching the blood cells. Your cells have a much better supply of oxygen. In the case of pregnant women: Your unborn child also receives more oxygen.


After 24 hours

Your risk of heart attack drops.


After 48 hours

Nicotine is completely eliminated from your body.


After 2 days

Your sense of smell and taste improve and return.


After 3 days

Breathing improves significantly. The little hairs on the lungs (cilia) recover. They transport particles from the lungs. A good sign: You cough more because more and more dirt and toxic substances are being removed from the lungs.


After 1 week

Blood pressure falls.


After 3 months

On average lung capacity rises by 39 percent and shortness of breath is reduced. Skin tone also improves.


After 3 to 9 months

Smokers cough and susceptibility to infections are reduced because the lungs can now clean themselves.


After 12 months

The risk of cardiovascular disease is halved.


After 5 years

The risk of stomach, mouth, throat, esophageal, and lung cancer is halved.


After 5 to 10 years

Depending on how much you have smoked, within this period, the risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, and stroke reaches the same level as that of nonsmokers.


After 10 years

Cell and tissue that were precancerous have largely been replaced. The risk of lung cancer continues to drop. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, and kidneys continues to drop.


After 15 years

Your risk of cancer is the same as that of a nonsmoker.  

Want to kick the habit in 30 days?

Get more tips about the science of why we smoke and how to stop (without gaining weight) and with proven strategies you can personalize, read I Know You Like to Smoke But You Can Quit Now, available at Amazon.com.

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