Benefits of Quitting

Studies show that there are many potential health benefits to quitting smoking for you and those around you. For most people, some benefits can begin as early as the first day. And for many, the benefits may continue to appear over time. Below are a few benefits that could be expected after quitting smoking.

Benefits Over Time

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    20 Minutes

    Your heart rate and blood pressure drop.

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    12 Hours

    The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    2-3 Weeks

    Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    1-9 Months

    Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    1 Year

    The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s.

  • Quitting after 1 to 5 years

    1-5 Years

    Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years.

  • Operation Breathe Easy Health Benefits

    10 Years

    The risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.

  • Operation Breathe Easy

    15 Years

    The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker’s.

Primary sources for this recovery benefits timetable are: (1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004; (2) Hughes, JR, Effects of abstinence from tobacco: valid symptoms and time course, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, March 2007, Volume 9(3), Pages 315-327; (3) O'Connell KA, et al, Coping in real time: using Ecological Momentary Assessment techniques to assess coping with the urge to smoke, Research in Nursing and Health, December 1998, Volume 21(6), Pages 487-497; and (4) Mamede M, et al, Temporal change in human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor after smoking cessation: 5IA SPECT study, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, November 2007, Volume 48(11), Pages 1829-1835.