What are the short-term benefits of quitting smoking?

The short-term benefits of quitting smoking include the following:
  • 20 minutes after quitting, heart rate and blood pressure drop.
  • 2 hours after quitting, the amount of nicotine in the bloodstream will drop by half.
  • 8 hours after quitting, there will be more oxygen in the blood.
  • 12 hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal.
  • 72 hours after quitting, breathing becomes easier and bronchial tubes begin to relax.
  • 2 to 12 weeks after quitting, circulation improves and lung function increases.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
Short-term benefits of quitting tobacco include: blood pressure goes down, heart rate slows, temperature of the hands and feet increase as a result of improved circulation, carbon monoxide and oxygen levels return to normal, the chance of a heart attack decreases, sense of taste and smell improve, and nerve endings begin to regenerate.
Kicking the tobacco habit offers some benefits that you'll notice right away and some that will develop over time. These rewards can improve your day-to-day life a great deal:
  • Your breath smells better
  • Stained teeth get whiter
  • Bad smelling clothes and hair go away
  • Your yellow fingers and fingernails disappear
  • Food tastes better
  • Your sense of smell returns to normal
  • Everyday activities no longer leave you out of breath (such as climbing stairs or light housework)
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Within just a few hours of quitting smoking, your body begins to recover from the cigarette smoke that was poisoning it. After 20 minutes, your heart rate slows down. Within 12 hours, the harmful carbon monoxide coursing through your bloodstream drops. Within a couple of weeks, your lung function begins to recover. You cough less and breathe better. A year after cutting out smokes, the risk for heart attack you gained while you were a smoker is cut in half.
Joanne M. Foody, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Your health risks start decreasing quickly after you stop smoking, and they continue dropping over time. You’ll see big benefits after you quit, no matter how long you’ve been smoking -- even if you’ve already developed some smoking-related problems.

Look at the health improvements you can expect within the first year:
  • 20 minutes after quitting: Your blood pressure and heart rate will drop.
  • 12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood will return to normal.
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation and lung function will improve.
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting: You’ll cough less and you’ll have less shortness of breath. Your lungs will be more able to handle mucus, clean themselves, and reduce your risk of infection.
  • 1 year after quitting: Your excess risk of heart disease will be half that of a smoker.
And the benefits don’t stop there! Within several years your stroke and heart disease risk can equal that of a non-smoker’s and your risk of cancer will be dramatically reduced as well. You’ll also see immediate benefits in your everyday life:
  • Your breath will smell better.
  • Your teeth will get whiter.
  • Your clothes and hair will stop smelling of cigarette smoke.
  • Your yellow fingers and fingernails will disappear.
  • Your senses of smell and taste will improve.
  • Everyday activities -- like climbing stairs or doing light housework -- won’t leave you out of breath.
  • You’ll save money! Smoking is expensive. When you stop buying cigarettes, the payoff is big.
The good news is that it’s never too late to quit. If you stop smoking, you’ll improve your health and reduce your long-term risks -- and you’ll see immediate benefits, some within just a few hours! And the benefits don’t stop there. Within several years your stroke and heart disease risk can equal that of a non-smoker’s and your risk of cancer will be dramatically reduced as well.

Continue Learning about Smoking Treatment

Smoking Treatment

Smoking Treatment

If you have an addiction to smoking, it is best to recognize the problem and work on a plan to stop smoking for your overall health improvement. To quit smoking, you can create motivational tips for weaning yourself off cigarettes ...

by a certain date and replacing that habit with a healthier habit such as walking or chewing sugar-free gum. Learn more from our experts how to create a cessation plan.

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.