5 Ways Your Body Reacts When You Stop Smoking!

Image showing it is not impossible to stop smoking

World No Tobacco Day 2020 is observed on 31st May every year. The theme for this year is “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use.”

Did you know tobacco kills more than 8 million people every year? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 7 million deaths are due to direct use of tobacco and its products whereas around 1.2 million deaths are attributed to non-smokers who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Also known as passive smoking, second-hand smoke is the smoke that you are exposed to at workplaces, restaurants or other enclosed spaces when people burn tobacco or its products such as cigarettes, bidis or water-pipes.

The fact that tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, of which around 250 are harmful and at least 69 chemicals are found to be carcinogens (compounds that are known to cause cancer) is not known by many. There is not doubt that smoking has been found to be detrimental for almost every organ of our body. Given the numerous long-term side-effects of smoking (both direct and secondhand), it goes without saying that quitting smoking is the only option to save yourself, your family and society from its detrimental effects.

What Happens In Your Body When You Stop Smoking

The will to quit smoking can save not only your lungs but many other organ systems of your body. As smoking has harmful effects on different organ systems, when you quit smoking, each of the organ systems reacts differently. Here’s how your body reacts when you stop smoking.

1. Blood Pressure Starts Returning To Normal  

Smoking increases the blood pressure and puts your heart under stress which over the time weakens the heart. After 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal

Smoking has been found to increase cholesterol and fatty acid deposition in the blood that further narrows down the arteries. These blocked arteries further increase the chances of a heart attack. After 8 hours oxygen levels in the blood return to normal and chances of heart attack start to fall

Smoking thickens your blood and makes it difficult for it to circulate effectively. In 5 years, your risk of heart attack is reduced to about half of that of a smoker.

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2. Blood Circulation Improves

Nicotine restricts and tightens the blood vessels therefore decreasing the supply of the nutrients to the wounds. This overall decreases the healing time of the wounds.

Within 2-12 weeks, your blood circulation improves and you can walk briskly.

3. Lungs Starts Working Better

Smoking causes inflammation of the airways and the tissues of the lungs and therefore makes you feel breathless.

After 24 hours, harmful carbon monoxide is removed from the body.

The lungs start to clear out. It is after 3-9 months, your breathing problems like coughing, breathlessness improve.

Regular smoking decreases the available surface area for exchange of oxygen leading to a condition called Emphysema.

After 72 hours, your breathing becomes easier and your energy levels increase.

In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker.

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4. Immunity Starts Improving

Smoking leads to inflammation therefore leading to an increased production of white blood cells.

Increased white blood cells in the body increases the risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.

5. Bones And Muscles Start To Strengthen

With depleted oxygen supply in the body, the blood is unable to carry oxygen alongside. The muscles run short of oxygen and therefore are fatigued more easily.

Also, ingredients of the smoke directly affect the bone health and leads to bone thinning and loss of bone density.

What Are The Long-term Health Benefits Of Quit Smoking?

The positive effects of quitting smoking start as soon as 20 minutes after you smoke your last cigarette and may last for as long as 15 years. In fact, it can even increase your life expectancy (add a few more years to your life).

After a year of quitting smoking, your risk of coronary heart disease is about half that of a smoker’s.

After 5 years, your risk of suffering from stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 

After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer falls to about half of that of a smoker

After 5-10 years, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decreases.

After 15 years, the risk of coronary heart disease is the same as that of a nonsmoker.

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Here’s a quick look at how quitting smoking at different ages can add up to your life expectancy. If you quit

At about 30: You gain almost 10 years of life expectancy.

At about 40: You gain almost 9 years of life expectancy.

At about 50: You gain almost 6 years of life expectancy.

At about 60: You gain almost 3 years of life expectancy.

Not just this, quitting smoking can lower your risk of suffering from impotence, having difficulty getting pregnant, having premature births, babies with low birth weights and miscarriage.

Take a note!

Given the wide range of health benefits of quitting smoking that range from better immunity and low risk of heart disease to low risk of cancer, it’s high time YOU kick the butt. But remember, if you smoke even a single cigarette during this time, all these benefits are lost!

Recommended Reads:

What Does Smoking Do To Your Heart?

Tips To Help YOU Quit Smoking!!


1. Health benefits of smoking cessation. The World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/health-benefits-of-smoking-cessation?

2. Global Adult Tobacco Survey. The GATS Atlas. http://gatsatlas.org/downloads/GATS-whole-book-12.pdf

3. Key Facts. Tobacco. The World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco

4. Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use. World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/news-room/events/detail/2020/05/31/default-calendar/world-no-tobacco-day-2020-protecting-youth-from-industry-manipulation-and-preventing-them-from-tobacco-and-nicotine-use

5. Changes Your Body Goes Through When You Quit Smoking. The University of Michigan Health System, Tobacco Consultation Service. https://hr.umich.edu/sites/default/files/tcs-changes.pdf

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