Smoking introduces a large number of harmful chemicals in the body that can damage many vital organs. In fact, as per figures by WHO, every year more than 8 million people worldwide die due to tobacco use, the most common form being cigarette smoking.


For smokers, quitting cigarettes might seem futile – but doing so can actually make a big difference to their health. If you have been thinking of quitting cigarettes but are unsure of what to expect, here is a brief timeline of how your body will heal itself once you decide to do so.

20 Minutes After Your Last Cigarette

Yes, your body begins the healing process just 20 minutes after you decide to quit smoking. Smoking is known to increase blood pressure as well as pulse rate. However, less than an hour after your last cigarette, both will come down to the normal level.

12 Hours Later

At the end of 12 hours, your body rids itself of the excess carbon monoxide that is responsible for several health issues. As a result, the oxygen levels in your body reach the normal level.

24 Hours Later

Just a day after you quit smoking, the chances of you getting a heart attack are reduced by 50%. The lowered blood pressure and increased supply of oxygen to the heart also diminish the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

48 Hours Later

At the end of two days, you would notice an improvement in your sense of taste and smell. This is an indication that the nerve endings damaged by regular smoking have started to heal.

72 hours To 1 Week

Less than a week after quitting, you would find it much easier to breathe as your lungs start to repair themselves. Also, by this time the nicotine levels in your body would have dropped, due to which you may start experiencing nicotine withdrawal symptoms like irritability and headaches. But these are only temporary.

After 3 Months

Within 1 to 3 months, you would find a considerable improvement in your lung capacity, which will also boost your energy levels. The blood circulation would also have improved, further lowering the risk of heart-related disease. 

After 9 Months

At the end of 9 months, the small hair-like structures in your lungs known as cilia would have recovered from the damage caused by cigarette smoke. As a result, you have a lower chance of contracting lung infections.

After 12 Months

After reaching the milestone of a year, your lung capacity would have improved tremendously. At the same time, your risk of coronary heart disease will also be reduced to a great extent.

After 5 Years

At the end of 5 years, your body would have healed itself enough to ensure that your risk of getting a stroke or cervical cancer is almost at par with that of a non-smoker. The chances of getting other types of cancer would also have been reduced to half.

After 10 Years

In 10 years, your chances of getting lung cancer are 50% lower than that of a smoker. The chances of getting other forms of cancer will also decrease further.

After 15 Years

When you reach the 15-year mark, your body would have healed to the extent that the risk of heart disease is equivalent to that of a non-smoker. The chances of cancer and lung diseases will also drop.

Summing Up

While quitting smoking may seem like a daunting task, the associated benefits make it worth trying out. You should start today if you wish to improve your chances of living a healthy and active life.