What Happens to a Smoker’s Body After Their Last Cigarette

Did you know three years after a person quits smoking, their risk of heart attack will have returned to that of a non-smoker? The damage isn’t done, no matter how many years you’ve been smoking, so long as you quit while there’s still time.

If you need a little motivation to help kick the habit, or know someone who does, understanding the body and the power of its healing ability can make all the difference in quitting for good.

Here is what happens to your body in the first 48 hours of your last cigarette:

Within …

20 minutes: Your blood pressure, pulse rate, and the temperature of your hands and feet will all return to normal.
8 hours: Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream will have fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.25% reduction.
12 hours: Your blood oxygen level will have increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels will have dropped to normal.
24 hours: Anxieties peak in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.
48 hours: Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability peaks.

And that’s just the first 48 hours!

In 10 days, the average ex-user’s cravings will start to decrease, and within four weeks most of those cravings and withdrawal symptoms have ended.

Then, the real benefits start to take effect:

21 days: Brain acetylcholine receptor counts up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.
2 weeks to 3 months: Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function is beginning to improve.
3 weeks to 3 months: Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared.
1 to 9 months: Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath have decreased. Cilia have regrown in your lungs thereby increasing their ability to handle mucus, keep your lungs clean, and reduce infections. Your body’s overall energy has increased.
1 year: Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.
5 to 15 years: Your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.

From this point on, you’ve cut your risk of lung cancer by nearly 50%, as well as cut your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus, and reduced your risk of pancreatic cancer and diabetes to that of a non-smoker.

For more information and for help quitting, visit whyquit.com!

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