So the reasons for quitting seem pretty sound, but how long do you have to wait before the health benefits actually take effect? Let’s break down the changes over time, so you’ll know when you’re likely to start noticing the results of smoking cessation.
20 minutes: Your pulse rate will return to normal.
8 hours: Your oxygen levels begin to return to normal, whilst nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood decrease by over 50%.
48 hours: You should start to notice an improved sense of taste and smell. As nicotine levels become depleted, the side effects of nicotine withdrawal such as anxiety and irritability might start to creep in (don’t worry! We have tips to help you with that).
72 hours: Your lungs begin to relax and breathing should be easier. Nicotine is completely eliminated from the body and as a result nicotine withdrawal symptoms will have reached their peak.
5 to 10 days: The average smoker will begin to notice a reduction in the number of nicotine cravings experienced in a day (you’re getting there!)
2 to 12 weeks: Your circulation starts to improve. You may notice that physical activity becomes a lot easier. You’ll be free of the addiction and any psychological effects of withdrawal should have ended.
3 to 9 months: Lung function begins to improve markedly. Coughing and wheezing becomes less frequent and the risk of respiratory infections begins to decrease.
1 year: Your risk of heart disease decreases by around 50%.
5 years: Your risk of stroke is significantly reduced, as your blood vessels begin to widen again, making blood clots less likely.
10 years: Your lung cancer risk is reduced by around 50%, whilst the chance that you’ll develop cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, throat and pancreas is also far less likely.
15 years: Your risk of developing heart disease is the same as that of a non-smoker.
20 years: The likelihood that you’ll develop pancreatic cancer is now equivalent to that of someone who has never smoked. In females, the risk of dying from all smoking-related causes is also now the same as that of a non-smoker.