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Published on January 11, 2018

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Here's what happens when you quit smoking

Any time is a good time to quit smoking. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and the long-term benefits of quitting are significant.

No matter how long you've been a smoker, your body will experience many benefits of being smoke-free, with some improvements happening in as little as 20 minutes after your last cigarette. So if you need a compelling reason to quit, check out how quickly you can benefit from being smoke-free:

  • In just 20 minutes your heart rate starts to drop.
  • After only two hours your blood pressure and heart rate return to near normal levels and your circulation begins to improve.
  • Within 12 hours the amount of oxygen in your blood increases as the level of carbon monoxide in your body decreases.
  • 24 hours later your risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) and heart attack already starts to decline.
  • In as little as 48 hours your sense of taste and smell improves. Although this doesn't affect your quantity of life, it can improve your quality of life.
  • After two to three weeks your lung capacity begins to increase and your heart function and blood circulation improves significantly. You should find yourself breathing more easily and being able to perform physical activities without feeling winded. If you've been experiencing withdrawal symptoms, they should start to subside around now.
  • In one to nine months your coughing and shortness of breath should improve dramatically as the cilia inside your lungs are repaired and help keep lungs clearer. Many people no longer experience withdrawal symptoms by the end of this period.
  • A year later your risk for heart disease falls by half. Yes, this is a big deal!
  • Around the 10-year mark your risk for lung cancer drops to half that of a smoker (smoking accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths). Your risk for other cancers also decreases.
  • And in 15 years your risk for heart disease and lung cancer approaches that of a nonsmoker. Your risk of stroke is also the same as a nonsmoker.

Copyright 2017 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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