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How Your Health Improves After the Last Cigarette

improved health after quitting smoking infographic

This information has been reviewed and approved by Thomas Ylioja, MSW, PhD (June 2024).

Summary: Better Health Starts After the Last Cigarette (Updated)

I Quit!

After the last cigarette, the road to better health starts within minutes and continues for years. Here are the changes your body experiences along that journey.


20 Minutes

Blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature all drop to normal levels


8 Hours

Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal

Oxygen level in blood increases to normal

"Smoker's breath" disappears


24 Hours

Chances of a heart attack decreases


48 Hours

Nerve endings start to regrow


Within 3 Months

Circulation improves

Walking becomes easier

Lung capacity increases and lung function improves


Within 9 Months

Coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath decrease


1 Year

Excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker


5 Years

From 5-15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who never smoked

Risk at developing mouth, throat, esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker


10 Years

Risk of cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers

Risk of ulcer decreases

Lung cancer death rate similar to nonsmoker


15 Years

Risk of coronary heart disease and death returns to nearly same level of people who never smoked

Congratulations for taking steps to improve your health!


DISCLAIMER: If you have other health conditions, your results may differ.