Will my body ever get back to normal after I quit smoking?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Your body will begin to sense that you have quit and have cravings that are ameliorated by the nicotine patches and the anti-craving pill, your support and your exercise immediately, and after day 5 it will get progressively easier.  Your body will recover much of the psychological craving, that is, it will stop doing the cravings by 1 to 2 months after you have quit, and then it will be time to taper the pill and the patch.  Six months later you will get rid of those cravings and the pills and patches.  Your immune system will start to recover in 15 days and will get close to normal by 3 months, and your arteries will begin to have normal inner lining cells, that is the endothelial cells, by 3 months.  You will start to repair the damage and by 5 years after you quit your body will have recovered more than 90% of the damage that is done, and it will feel, act, and be normal thereafter.

Robert S. Kaufmann, MD
Internal Medicine
You hope so.  It just depends on how long you smoked and how much damage you did to it.  So I think the thing to do is try to get yourself as healthy as possible after you quit smoking and then see where you are.  I mean, if you smoked for 40 years you are definitely going to have some benefit but you won't be back to your original baseline.
Much depends on what ongoing medical conditions you may have as a consequence of smoking, but by quitting most of the medical conditions will improve to at least some degree. Once individuals stop smoking, they will have a decrease in their heart rate and also in their bodies’ levels of carbon monoxide. Gradually over months and years, the risks for developing smoking-related diseases will decrease as well.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.