Benefits When You Quit Smoking

These are just a few of the benefits of quitting smoking for good – see the timeline of quitting smoking below and how your health can improve over time.

Quitting smoking lowers the risk for cancer, coronary heart disease and improves the functioning of blood vessels, the heart and lungs.

Quitting while you are younger will reduce your health risks more, but quitting at any age can give back years of life that would otherwise be lost if continue to smoke.

Quiting Smoking Timeline


  • 20 minutes after last cigarette, blood pressure and pulse rate drops; body temperature rises toward normal
  • 8 hours after quitting, carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal; oxygen level rises to normal
  • 24 hours after quitting, chance of a heart attack decreases
  • 48 hours after quitting, nerve endings start re-growing; ability to smell and taste is enhanced
  • 2 weeks to 3 months after quitting, circulation improves; walking becomes easier; lung function improves
  • 1 to 9 months after quitting, there is a decrease in coughing; sinus congestion; fatigue; shortness of breath
  • 1 year after quitting, excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker
  • 5 years after quitting, risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half; cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker
  • After 5 to 15 years, stroke risk is reduced to that of non-smokers
  • 10 years after quitting, risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers; risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases; risk of ulcer decreases
  • 15 years after quitting, risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked; risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

Choose Healthier Lungs:

Non-smokers lungs vs Smokers lungs

Non-smokers lungs vs Smokers lungs


Image (left): courtesy of Body Worlds

QUIT Today:



  • Ralf Aspesberger says:

    Hi all, just to say strong’s to all in line to quit smoking. It’s a hard road and one not traveled that road could not imagine, but ones faith in oneself and from above and support of friends and family and initiatives like this website, can make the road o be traveled easier. Today were my 10 day without a smoke….

    • Debbie @CANSA says:

      Well done Ralf – keep strong and thanks for encouraging others! If you need more encouragement along the way, please sign up for weekly emails & support from Sergeant KickButt:

  • marriam says:

    hi i would like to join your online smoking cessation as i have been trying to quit smoking for a long time but its really difficult especially if i get hurt i just take one cigarret which lead to more its so difficult i want to stop and live a healthy life for me and my family.

  • Aneesa says:

    Hubby and I recently moved to Kuwait from our home country, South Africa. We are here on a short dream contract. Kuwait is not as advanced as SA in terms of smoking laws let alone smoking cessation – people even smoke in malls still. So, we found that we are smoking more. We are co. it tend to quitting and have begun cutting down. We begin taking Champix tomorrow and our Quit Day is Next Tuesday. It’s scary but we will do this. I’m going to join your online programme because I think I need the support. Thanks for making it free. hopefully when we get back to SA in July, we will be smoke-free for months.

  • Esme Sleeking says:

    I dearly wish to stop smoking and have stopped totally for 5 days. I started using Champix on 15 May but did not stop immediately. I only cut down untill about 5 days ago. I still cannot get my mind around this not smoking and find it very difficult. Thank you for your support and advice.

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