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This is What Happens When you Quit Smoking

Wondering if it’s too late to stop smoking? It never is.

A timeline of happens in your body when you stop smoking cigarettes

When you stop smoking, the benefits start immediately.

“Statistics show that if you quit smoking before you turn 50 that smoking will not have shortened your life,” says Doug Clark, RRT, CTTS, a smoking cessation expert at OhioHealth. “Generally, a lifetime of smoking takes 10 years off your life.”

Below, Clark shares the important changes that happen to a smoker’s body once they quit.

12 hours

The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
“Carbon monoxide is inhaled during smoking and it displaces oxygen on the binding sites of hemoglobin,” Clark says, noting it’s one of the leading contributors of cardiovascular disease. “In our tobacco cessation classes we measure the carbon monoxide each week to track the progress as each participant works up to the quit date.”

2 weeks to 3 months

Your risk of heart attack begins to drop and your lung function improves.

1 to 9 months

Coughing and shortness of breath decreases.

1 year

Your added risk of coronary disease is half that of a smoker.
“This should be particularly motivating to the individual that thinks that it is too late to quit because the damage is already done,” Clark says.

5 years

Your risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker. Your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, throat, or esophagus is half that of a smoker.

10 years

Your risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a smoker. Your risk of getting bladder cancer is half that of a smoker and the risk of cancer of the cervix, larynx, kidney or pancreas decreases.
“This should be particularly eye opening as most people do not associate these cancers with smoking,” Clark explains.

15 years

Your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a smoker.

Ready to stop? We can help. Learn how to kick the habit for good with these five tips, or call the OhioHealth Cancer Center at 1-800-752-9119 to find the cessation program nearest you.