What Happens When You Quit Smoking?
People who stop smoking want to know what to expect and how long it will take to see benefits of stopping smoking. The benefits can begin in a little as 20 minutes, even if you have smoked for years. Your experience will vary based on how long you smoked and how much.
Quit Smoking Timeline
- Your heart rate will begin to drop to normal in 20 minutes. The temperature of your hands and feet also return to normal.
- Blood circulation begins to improve in a couple of hours.
- Blood pressure begins to drop.
- Cravings usually begin 2 hours after your last cigarette.
- Nicotine levels in your bloodstream have fallen from peak levels of about 93% to 6-7%
- Within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels begin to drop enabling oxygen levels to increase to normal levels.
- 24 hours after smoking cessation, your risk or coronary artery disease and heart attack begins to reduce.
- 1 day after you quit, anxiety levels peak and may take 2 weeks to subside.
- 2 days after you quit smoking, your senses of taste and smell begin to improve.
- Key milestone. 3 days after you stop smoking is when nicotine has been flushed from your body.
- Without nicotine for 72 hours, you may become grumpy, suffer from anxiety, depression or insomnia and get headaches. These effects usually subside in 2-4 weeks.
- Days 5-8: Most will experience cravings about 3x a day.
- By Day 10, the average ex-smoker is down to suffering 2 crave episodes a day. Most last less than 3 minutes.
- At 14 days, the withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside.
- Your lungs begin clearing up in 2-3 weeks and you’ll notice that you’re less winded when doing physical activities.
- Soon, lung function will begin to improve and your ability to fight off infection.
- 8 weeks after you quit, insulin resistance has normalized.
- After 2 months, one study says you can expect to gain about 6 pounds. (Click here if you need to lose weight.)
- 2-3 months: You will notice a reduction in coughing. You notice that walking has become easier.
- 1 year after you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease has dropped in half from where it was when you smoked.
- Your risk of stroke will begin to reduce 5 years after you quit.
- 5-10 years after your last cigarette, your risk of cancer, including lung, mouth, throat, kidney and pancreatic cancer begins to drop. Lung cancer rates drop between 30 and 50% 10 years after you quit smoking.
- In 15 years of not smoking, your risk of heart disease will match that of a non-smoker.
According to the CDC, non-smokers live about 10 years longer than smokers and enjoy a more active and fulfilling life. Smokers also lose an average of 5.8 teeth more than non-smokers by age 75.
So there you have the quit smoking timeline. Most of my clients want to know what to expect. I’m always here for you.