What Happens When You Quit Smoking?

Have you ever asked yourself this one simple question: What happens when you quit smoking?

Smoking releases thousands of chemicals into your bloodstream. These will have an effect not only on your lungs but also on heart, brain, kidneys and blood pressure. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to your body, quitting will lower your chance of getting cancer and will help you to breathe easier. So, straight to the point, what happens after….

20 minutes

Your blood pressure will start getting back to normal levels [2]. Bacteria and all irritants will start getting removed from your lungs. Bronchial tubes are unable to move due to excess smoke and tar which stops the cleaning process [3].

8 hours

At this point the excess carbon monoxide (smaller brother to the famous CO2) is getting removed from your body - and believe me - you don’t want this in your body!. Carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in your bloodstream which lowers the amount of it getting through to your internal organs and brain. I am not sure about you, but we love oxygen! [3]

Now. Stop. Take a breath, a long deep breath. Do you feel all this extra air rushing through to rescue your carbonated tissues?

Ok, moving on.

24 hours

By this time you have cut the risk of having a heart attack in half [1].  

48 hours

Your nerves are starting to regrow (yep, smoking has damaged them as well) [3]. That’s not all...do you notice these extra smells, maybe a Sunday roast tastes so muuuuch better? Yes? Well this means that your senses are getting back on track.

72 hours also known as 3 days

You will start breathing easier, your bronchial tubes are more relaxed and start to open up (just like your mates after a few drinks). This is because the air in your lungs is able to move more freely. After 3 days your lung capacity improves, this will help in your evening jog or during your morning swimming sesh [3]. Get ready to hit the gym!

1 week after stopping smoking

Congrats, you are 9 times more likely to completely stop smoking at this point! [3]

2 weeks

Circulation and oxygenation get back to normal. Now you can not only breathe easier, but walking is also getting easier as well!

As an extra bonus, your lungs are performing 30% better than 2 weeks ago [3], yay!

1 month

At this point, you will experience a variety of improvements in your health. You should be able to notice improved energy levels and a decrease of shortness of breath [3].

6 months

Your airways are much less inflamed at this point. Some people are able to handle stressful situations in a much more civilised manner [3]. Aaaaand….. You have a couple of hundreds pounds more in your pocket. Did I lose you at a few drinks with mates? Well, now you can have a few more!


I wish I had a fireworks emoji here, nevertheless, you made it! One year is a big one, you will see huge health improvements across different parts of your body [3].

Yeah, you breathe easier, feel better, smell better among other improvements. But if you are in your 20s that is not important - what is though is the extra thousands of coins in your bank account, or your wallet (if you like heavy wallets) [4]. Now go, get yourself this dream holiday!

3 years after

High five to you, my non-smoking friend. You made it. You’re never going back. But your body is potentially stick recovering from all those cigs! Keep it up and don’t look back. You’ve made it this far.

10 year

Your risk of dying from cancer has fallen by half [1], not bad, eh?

15 years later

The 15-year mark is a huge one. Your body is back to normal [3].

Now think for a second. Was it worth starting to smoke at all?

If you are a smoker, stop now, give your future self a gift. So if you’ve already made the switch to vaping and you’re thinking of having a sneaky at the weekend. Don’t ruin all that hard work.

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/what-happens-when-you-quit

[2] https://onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com/blog/stop-smoking/

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/what-happens-when-you-quit-smoking

[4] https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/cost-calculator