Healthy Holistic Living

What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking?


You know smoking isn’t healthy, but do you know what happens to your body when you quit? It gets better — top to bottom, lungs to legs.

Learn what happens when you quit smoking with the information below, featuring the timeline from Cleveland Clinic’s Tobacco Treatment Center (1) and the Government of Canada (2).

1. Healing begins

20 minutes after your last smoke, your blood pressure and pulse drop to normal (2).


2. Return to Normal

After 8 hours, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal, and the oxygen level rises to normal (2).

3. No More Heart Attacks

After 24 hours, your chances of a heart attack decrease (2).

4. Regain Your Senses

At the 48-hour mark, your senses of smell and taste are enhanced, and your nerve endings start regrowing (2).

5. Get Your Legs Back

Between 2 weeks and 3 months, walking becomes easier, your circulation improves and your lung function increases up to 30 percent.

6. Live and Breathe

At 1 to 9 months, your body’s overall energy increases. Coughing, sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia regrow in the lungs to help clean them and reduce the chance of infections (2).

7. Save Your Heart

At 1 year, your excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s (2).

8. Lower Your Risk


After 5 years, your risk of mouth, throat and esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker’s. Stroke risk is the same as a nonsmoker’s, and the lung cancer death rate is almost half that of average smokers (one pack a day) (2).

9. Breathe Easier 

After 10 years, the lung cancer death rate is comparable to a nonsmoker’s. Precancerous cells are replaced, and the risk of mouth, throat, esophageal, bladder, kidney and pancreatic cancer decreases (2).

10. Turn Back the Clock

Congratulations. After 15 years post-quitting, your risk of heart disease is the same as a nonsmoker’s (2).


quit smoking timeline



  1. Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. (2017). What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking? (Infographic). [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].
  2. (2016). Benefits of quitting smoking – [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].


Michelle Toole
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Michelle Toole

Michelle Toole is the founder and head editor of Healthy Holistic Living. Learn all about her life's inspiration and journey to health and wellness.
Michelle Toole
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