What happens when you smoke, and when you quit

Within 20 minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

  • 20 minutes after quitting, your heart rate drops
  • 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to near normal
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, your heart attack risk begins to drop; your lung function begins to improve
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, your coughing and shortness of breath decrease
  • 1 year after quitting, your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker
  • 5 to 15 years after quitting, your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker
  • 10 years after quitting, your lung cancer death risk is about half that of a smoker; your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases

Watch this video for a deep-dive on what nicotine is and how it affects the body:

Have questions? We're here to help.

Contact us to make an appointment