Woman jogging by the ocean

Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking Timeline

Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals and at least 69 of them cause cancer. These chemicals have effects on your lungs and cells, skin, teeth, hair, and heart.

No matter how long you have been smoking, you can start feeling the benefits of quitting smoking within the first hour. If you’re curious to know what happens after you quit smoking, we have the answers.

Health Benefits Timeline

Your body transforms when you stop smoking, helping alleviate the negative effects of smoking.

  • 20 minutes

    This first positive effect happens only 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal1.
  • 8 hours

    After 8 hours, oxygen levels in your blood return to normal and the levels of nicotine and carbon monoxide are reduced by more than half1.
    Carbon monoxide crowds out oxygen in your brain, causing problems in your muscles and brain because they do not receive enough oxygen2.
    By increasing in oxygen helps support tissues and blood vessels that received less oxygen while smoking.
  • 24 hours

    By 24 hours, your risk of a heart attack begins to decline2. Carbon monoxide which has been affecting your oxygen levels has been eliminated from your body. Your lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris.
  • 48 hours

    After 2 days there’s no nicotine left in your body.Your ability to taste and smell is greatly improved as your brain nerve endings begin to heal2.
  • 72 hours

    By 3 days, breathing becomes easier. Your bronchial tubes begin to relax and your energy levels increase as your lungs start to recover1. These changes make air exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen easier for your body.
  • 2 to 12 weeks

    Within 2 weeks of quitting smoking, you start breathing easier. Circulation and oxygenation improves throughout the body, making walking and running a whole lot easier. You can exercise without feeling winded and your risk of heart attack has decreased even more2.
  • 3 to 9 months

    By 3 to 9 months, your energy increases.
    Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems get better as your lung function is increased by up to 10%. You can take deeper, clearer breaths.
    The fibers in your bronchial tubes regrow3, helping you handle mucus, clean your lungs and reduce potential infections and cold.
  • 1 year

    By 1 year, your heart-attack risk reduces by half compared to a person who still smokes.
    Your lungs have improved over the year, and you will notice how much easier you can breathe and how much less you cough.
  • 3 to 5 years

    Your heart-attack risk falls to about half that of a smoker3.
  • 10 years

    After a decade, your risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker.
    Pre-cancerous cells have been replaced with healthy cells. Other cancer risks, like mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas cancer decrease3.
  • 15 years

    By 15 years, your risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked1.

The long-term benefits of quitting smoking

People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness than people who continue to smoke. If you quit smoking before 40, you reduce your chance of passing away prematurely from smoking-related diseases by 90%, if you quit by 45-54 you reduce you change of passing away prematurely by two-thirds4.

Quitting smoking helps you live longer. If you quit between:

  • 25-24 Years: 10 years longer
  • 24-44 Years: 9 years longer
  • 45-54 Years: 6 years longer
  • 55-64 Years: 4 years longer

Even if you are past this age, studies show that people who quit smoking in their 60s had a lower mortality risk than smokers4.

Physical Benefits of Quitting Smoking

You’ll also experience these physical effects when you quit smoking5

  • Teeth are white and breath is fresher
  • Skin will look and feel better
  • Improved sense of taste and smell
  • Decreased risk of oral cancer
  • Decreased risk of heart attack
  • Increased lung function; decreased risk of COPD
  • Less irritability
  • Decreased risk of urinary tract cancers
  • Decreased risk of erectile dysfunction

Life Benefits of Quitting Smoking

It’s important for you to celebrate these other wins when you break free from smoking for good:

  • Better smelling clothes
  • Less stress
  • More money

Start Your Quit Plan

All the benefits of quitting smoking can be yours today. The best time to quit is now. If you need help starting your quit plan, read more about getting ready to quit, how to quit smoking, and staying on track here.


  1. https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/what-happens-when-you-quit
  2. https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/what-happens-body-quit-smoking
  3. https://hr.umich.edu/sites/default/files/tcs-changes.pdf
  4. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/tobacco/cessation-fact-sheet
  5. https://www.helpthemquit.ca/sites/helpthemquit_ca/files/Tools-Downloadable-PDFs/ForPatients_1-NewToSmoking.pdf