skip to content, health centers and clinics, search, accessibility statement

Benefits of Quitting


What happens to your body when you stop smoking?

According to the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as soon as you snuff out that final cigarette, the body begins a series of changes:

Within 20 minutes: Your blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal. Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
Within 8 hours: Carbon monoxide levels in the blood drops to normal and oxygen levels in blood rise to normal. Smoker's breath disappears.
Within 24 hours: Chance of heart attack decreases.
Within 48 hours: Nerve endings start regrowing. Ability to taste and smell enhances.
Within 3 days: You'll breathe easier.
Within 2 weeks to 3 months: Circulation improves. Walking becomes easier. lung function increases up to 30 percent.
Within 1 to 9 months: You'll cough less. Sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease. The cilia that sweep debris from your lungs will grow back. You'll feel more energetic.
Within 1 year: Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
Within 2 years: Your heart attack risk drops to near normal.
Within 5 years: Lung cancer death rate for average former smoker (of one pack a day) decreases by almost half. Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker's.
Within 15 years: Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.