11th March 2020

The health benefits of stopping smoking

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From saving money to improving your health and reducing your risk of lung cancer, there are many reasons to quit smoking. But did you know how quickly your health can improve when you stop smoking?

As part of our campaign for No Smoking Day, our infographic shows just how soon you can start to reap the health benefits of stopping smoking.

So, what happens when you stop smoking? You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll notice the benefits:

Less than 12 hours after your last cigarette, your body starts to heal itself.

After 12 hours levels of carbon dioxide in your blood are the same as a non-smoker’s.

After just one day your risk of heart attack will decrease.

At the 72-hour mark (three days after quitting) all traces of nicotine have been flushed out of your system. If you stay smoke-free, that’s forever!

 Two weeks after you quit, your addiction to nicotine – and all the toxic chemicals in cigarettes – should have worn off.

Between one and three months after you stop smoking any persistent cough you had should clear up.

One year after quitting your risk of heart disease will have dropped by around half.

Long-term, if you stay smoke-free, you can expect to live about ten years longer than you would have before you quit.

It’s always a good idea to stop

Often, people who have smoked for many years believe that “there’s no point in quitting, because the damage has been done”.

In fact, new research shows that, regardless of how much you previously smoked, quitting can reverse the damage.

When you smoke, many cells in the lungs are changed and can contain up to 10,000 genetic alternations. It was previously believed that these mutations were permanent and persisted even after a person stopped smoking.

However, the new study reveals that a small number of cells remain unharmed and healthy, and can help your lungs to repair some of the damage caused by smoking – but only once you quit.