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How will quitting smoking improve my health?

Quitting tobacco is important for your health. For example, the tobacco in cigarettes contains over 4,000 chemicals, more than 100 of which are known toxins (poisons). But it’s never too late to stop the damage tobacco does to your body. For example, look what happens when you put out your last cigarette:

• within minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal

• within hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will go down -- and the oxygen level will go up

• within days, your ability to smell and taste will improve, and the yellow stains on your hands and teeth will fade

• within several weeks to months, you’ll start to breathe easier - your smoker’s cough will disappear, and you’ll find that you’re more clear-headed and energetic

• within a year or two, your risk for heart disease, stroke, emphysema, and lung cancer will drop by up to 50% -- eventually, your risk for these diseases will be the same as if you had never smoked
Leigh Vinocur, MD
Emergency Medicine
According to the American Heart Association, if you quit smoking for about 10 years, your risk of stroke will be similar to a non-smoker. If you quit for over a year, your risk of heart attack is reduced by 50%. If you quit smoking for just 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate will recover from the spike they got with the nicotine.

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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.