Smoke-free Living: Benefits & Milestones

Updated:Jun 11,2015

benefits of quitting smokingYou probably know smoking is bad for you, but do you realize exactly how dangerous it is? It’s important to understand your risks, but there’s a lot more to quitting than frightening statistics. Your journey to smoke-free living will help you turn your life around in many positive ways.

After one month of living smoke-free:

  • You’ll soon be able to exercise or perform activities with less shortness of breath.
  • Your clothes, your body, your car and your home will smell better.
  • Your sense of taste and smell will return to normal.
  • The stains on your teeth and fingernails will start to fade.

Timeline of smoke-free living benefits

According to the American Heart Association and the U.S. surgeon general, this is how your body starts to recover:

  • In your first 20 minutes after quitting: your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
  • After 12 hours of smoke-free living: the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
  • After two weeks to three months of smoke-free living: your circulation and lung function begin to improve.
  • After one to nine months of smoke-free living: clear and deeper breathing gradually returns as coughing and shortness of breath diminishes; you regain the ability to cough productively instead of hacking, which cleans your lungs and reduce your risk of infection.
  • One year after quitting smoking, a person’s excess risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
  • After 5 years: Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Your risk of cervical cancer and stroke return to normal.
  • After 10 years: You are half as likely to die from lung cancer. Your risk of larynx or pancreatic cancer decreases.
  • After 15 years your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker’s.

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Last reviewed 6/2015

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Cost of Smoking Calculator

How much does it cost to smoke? Use this calculator to find out. Saving money is just one more good reason to quit smoking.

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Smokers have more than twice the risk of heart attack as nonsmokers. Smoking is a major risk factor for stroke, too.