Amazing Ways Your Body Heals Itself After You Quit Smoking


Let’s be real: Quitting smoking is hard. Really hard.

Luckily, once you kick those cigarettes out of your life, your body starts to heal itself immediately. Some smokers might assume that the damage has already been done, so “there is no point to quitting,” but this is could not be further from the truth. Your body is specifically designed to continuously repair itself, and heals quite dramatically after you stop smoking cigarettes. In this video, internist Paul Knoepflmacher, MD, provides a timeline of what happens to your body when you quit smoking.

Only 20 minutes after quitting cigarettes (yep, you read that right: less than an hour!), your heart rate and blood pressure go down. Twelve hours later, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

After just one day of no smoking, your risk of having a heart attack goes down. Two days after you quit smoking, your sense of smell and taste improve.

Two to three weeks after you quit smoking, your lung function will improve. Exercise and walking become easier and will continue to get better every day.

Between one and nine months after quitting, you will see that the smoker's cough and shortness of breath (which may be a symptom of COPD) will decrease.   

Five years after you quit smoking, your risk of developing cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is cut in half. And get this: Your risk of stroke and heart disease will be the same as that of a non-smoker. And—amazingly—after 10 years, your risk of dying from lung cancer is the same as that of someone who never smoked.

Smoking cigarettes can take a very serious toll on your body. Now that you've learned what happens when you quit smoking, you can see that the significant health benefits are worth it. The sooner you can quit smoking cigarettes, the sooner you’ll regain control of your body’s health.

Ready to kick butt? Check out these tips to quit smoking.


Dr. Paul Knoepflmacher

This video features Dr. Paul Knoepflmacher. Dr. Paul Knoepflmacher is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine

Duration: 01:25. Last Updated On: 2015-11-09
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, Dr. Suzanne Friedman . Review date: December 31, 2016
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