Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Benefits of Stopping Smoking

Within …

20 minutes

Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal.

8 hours

Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream has fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.75% reduction.

12 hours

Your blood oxygen level has increased to normal. Carbon monoxide levels have dropped to normal.

24 hours

Anxieties have peaked in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

48 hours

Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability will have peaked.

72 hours

Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free and over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed from your body via your urine. Symptoms of chemical withdrawal have peaked in intensity, including restlessness. The number of cue induced crave episodes experienced during any quitting day have peaked for the “average” ex-user. Lung bronchial tubes leading to air sacs (alveoli) are beginning to relax in recovering smokers. Breathing is becoming easier and your lung’s functional abilities are starting to increase.

5 - 8 days

The “average” ex-smoker will encounter an “average” of three cue induced crave episodes per day. Although we may not be “average” and although serious cessation time distortion can make minutes feel like hours, it is unlikely that any single episode will last longer than 3 minutes. Keep a clock handy and time them.

10 days

10 days - The “average” ex-user is down to encountering less than two crave episodes per day, each less than 3 minutes.

10 days to 2 weeks

Recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.

2 to 4 weeks

Cessation related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness and depression have ended. If still experiencing any of these symptoms get seen and evaluated by your physician.

2 weeks to 3 months

Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function is beginning to improve.

21 days

The number of acetylcholine receptors, which were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence in the frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital, basal ganglia, thalamus, brain stem, and cerebellum regions of the brain, have now substantially down-regulated, and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers[1].

3 weeks to 3 months

Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared. If not, get seen by a doctor, and sooner if at all concerned, as a chronic cough can be a sign of lung cancer.

4 weeks

Plasma suPAR is a stable inflammatory biomarker predictive of development of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer in smokers. A 2016 study found that within 4 weeks of quitting smoking, with or without NRT, that suPAR levels in 48 former smokers had fallen from a baseline smoking median of 3.2 ng/ml to levels “no longer significantly different from the never smokers’ values” (1.9 ng/ml)[2]

8 weeks

Insulin resistance in smokers has normalized despite average weight gain of 2.7 kg [3]

1 to 9 months

Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath has decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs, thereby increasing their ability to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean and reduce infections. Your body’s overall energy has increased.

1 year

Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

5 years

Your risk of a subarachnoid hemorrhage has declined to 59% of your risk while still smoking [4]. If a female ex-smoker, your risk of developing diabetes is now that of a non-smoker [1].

5 to 15 years

Your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.

10 years

Your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30% and 50% of that for a continuing smoker [5]. Risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day). Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and pancreas have declined. Risk of developing diabetes for both men and women is now similar to that of a never-smoker [6].

13 years

The average smoker who is able to live to age 75 has 5.8 fewer teeth than a non-smoker [7]. But by year 13 after quitting, your risk of smoking induced tooth loss has declined to that of a never-smoker [8].

15 years

Your risk of coronary heart disease is now that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of pancreatic cancer has declined to that of a never-smoker [9].

20 years

Female excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker [10]. Risk of pancreatic cancer has declined to that of a never-smoker [9].


  1. Hughes, J. R. (2007). Effects of abstinence from tobacco>valid symptoms and time course. Nicotine & Tobacco Research >Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 9(3), 315–27. doi:10.1080/14622200701188919

  2. J., E.-O., & S., L. (2016, April). Plasma suPAR is lowered by smoking cessation>A randomized controlled study. European Journal of Clinical Investigation. doi:10.1111/eci.12593

  3. US Surgeon General Report. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/reports/50-years-of-progress/sgr50-chap–6.pdf

  4. Kim, C. K., Kim, B. J., Ryu, W.-S., Lee, S.-H., & Yoon, B.-W. (2012). Impact of smoking cessation on the risk of subarachnoid haemorrhage>a nationwide multicentre case control study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 83(11), 1100–1103. doi:10.1136/jnnp–2012–302538

  5. Anthonisen, N. R., Skeans, M. a, Wise, R. a, Manfreda, J., Kanner, R. E., & Connett, J. E. (2005). The effects of a smoking cessation intervention on 14.5-year mortality. Annals of Internal Medicine, 143(8), 615; author reply 615. doi:142/4/233 [pii]

  6. Will, J. C., Galuska, D. A., Ford, E. S., Mokdad, A., & Calle, E. E. (2001). Cigarette smoking and diabetes mellitus>evidence of a positive association from a large prospective cohort study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 30(3), 540–546. doi:10.1093/ije/30.3.540

  7. Axelsson, P., Paulander, J., & Lindhe, J. (1998). Relationship between smoking and dental status in 35-, 50-, 65-, and 75-year-old individuals. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 25(4), 297–305. doi:10.1111/j.1600–051X.1998.tb02444.x

  8. Krall, E. A., Dietrich, T., Nunn, M. E., & Garcia, R. I. (2006). Risk of tooth loss after cigarette smoking cessation. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(4), A115. doi:A115 [pii]

  9. Tranah, G. J., Holly, E. A., Wang, F., & Bracci, P. M. (2011). Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoking, passive smoke exposure, and risk of pancreatic cancer>a population-based study in the San Francisco Bay Area. BMC Cancer, 11, 138. doi:10.1186/1471–2407–11–138

  10. Kenfield, S. A., Stampfer, M. J., Rosner, B. A., & Colditz, G. A. (2008). Smoking and smoking cessation in relation to mortality in women. JAMA, 299(17), 2037–47. doi:10.1001/jama.299.17.2037