Does your lungs ever return to full capacity after you stop smoking, just as if you never smoked at all?
Many people who are thinking about quitting ask this question. Is it too late to quit? What will happen to my health after I become smoke-free? It’s a difficult question to answer simply. We suggest that you talk with your health care provider to get specific information about your current health status and how that will improve once you quit. We can say this: Quitting smoking is absolutely the best thing that you can do to improve your health. It’s hard to know what damage has been done, but you do have the power to feel better and improve the quality of your life right now. We do know that even 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your body starts to heal. Here’s some facts from our “Benefits of Quitting” page (in the ‘Expert Advice’ section):
- Twelve hours after your last cigarette, the carbon monoxide is out of your lungs;
- After seventy-two hours, your lung’s capacity for breathing starts to increase;
- After one to three months, the cilia begin to recover and remove all that gunky mucous in your lungs, reducing the chance of infection ;
- After a year, your risk of lung cancer is reduced.
Here’s a quote from our Featured Article on “Smoking and Lung Disease” (look in the “Expert Advice” section for this and other articles written by our team of physicians). “Quitting is the single most important step you can take towards feeling better and reducing additional damage to your lungs! It’s worth the effort!!!”
You used to have a breakdown of what was happening to your health after you quit – ie., after 3 days the nicotine has left your body, after 1 week your lungs have started improving, etc. Where can I find that one your site? Thanks!
Remembering how the body heals can definitely help strengthen your commitment to quitting, and to staying quit for good:
- 20 Minutes after your last cigarette:
- Blood pressure decreases
- Temperature of hands and feet increases to normal (because of improved blood circulation)
- 8 Hours after quitting:
- The carbon monoxide level (that’s car exhaust and it’s in cigarette smoke!) in your blood drops to normal
- 24 Hours after quitting:
- Chance of a heart attack decreases
- 2 Weeks to 3 Months after quitting:
- Blood circulation improves
- Lung function increases up to 30%
- 1 to 9 Months after quitting:
- Coughing, congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease
- The cilia (small hairs that line the airways) go back to working normally, meaning that your lungs get cleaner and function better overall
- 1 Year after quitting:
- Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s
- 5 Years after quitting:
- Risk of stroke is reduced to the risk of a nonsmoker
- 10 Years after quitting:
- The lung cancer death rate is about half the rate of a smoker who has not quit
- The risk of oral and throat cancer, bladder, kidney, and pancreatic cancer decreases
- 15 Years after quitting:
- The risk of coronary heart disease is equal to a nonsmoker’s risk.
I quit smoking 6 months ago with the help of Zyban. My question is: “What happens to my body after I quit smoking?” By that I mean in term of months rather than years.
It is great to hear that you have quit and stayed quit for several months. Your body begins to heal right away! The Quit Wizard on this site has a complete list of body benefits under “The Benefits of Being A Non-Smoker.” At 6 months, you should be experiencing these signs of physical recovery:
- After 24 hours, your blood pressure, temperature of hands and feet, and carbon monoxide level are back to normal, and your chance of a heart attack decreases.
- After 3 months, your blood circulation improves, and your lung function increases up to 30%.
- Between 1 and 9 months, coughing, congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath decrease; the cilia in your lungs regrow and function normally, increasing oxygen absorption and reducing infection.
Overall, your body is very happy that it is now smoke-free. Knowing some of these immediate benefits, and that reduction in cancer and heart disease risks occur in the months and years ahead, may motivate you to stay quit. Congratulations!!
It is not how many years we live, but what we do with them. Health Service Food and Human Resources: Discount Cigarettes Brands