Your Body Will Repair Itself Once You've Quit

Your Body Will Repair Itself Once You've Quit

Don’t think it’s too late. Once you’ve quit your body will almost immediately start to repair itself.

 No matter when you first piacked up that first cigarette, eventually you will say to yourself, “I have to stop smoking.”Smoking is not a healthy activity over the long term and is responsible for increasing the chances of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and ling cancer. Most people are aware of this.  However, knowing how your body reacts should you quit smoking, is not always so clear. We are going to briefly outline the main health issues associated with longer term smoking, and what happens when you stop. This is to highlight exactly why when we say it is never too late to stop smoking, we really mean it. There are true health benefits for everyone, and much quicker than you can imagine too, when you quit smoking.

 The long term effects of smoking

 In addition to the nicotine in cigarettes, tobacco smoke is harmful, and I doubt there is anyone who does not understand this today. Cigarettes contain around 600 ingredients, which when burned, create about 7000 different chemicals that are inhaled into the body. 69 of those are cancer causing chemicals, and of course, cancer is the most well known risk of smoking. The longer you smoke, the higher the risk of developing coronary heart disease and various cancers. 

Inhaling smoke does damage to the respiratory system, it clogs up your lungs, which the body tries to clear through coughing, the longer you smoke, the less effective coughing becomes, and thus more frequently you cough. Nicotine also causes blood vessels to tighten, raising blood pressure and increasing the risk of cholesterol issues. This same effect also increases the risk of blood clots.

The list of associated health problems is long, sexual health can suffer, skin discoloration and premature ageing can be a side effect of long term smoking too. It can even lead to the body developing insulin resistance, putting you at risk of type 2 diabetes. Smokers also tend to suffer complications with diabetes much quicker than non-smoking diabetes sufferers.

What happens when you give up – a timeline of improvement

 When you kick the smoking habit, your body begins to heal from the effects of the nicotine and harmful smoke, and it happens surprisingly quickly. Many people are quite shocked with how fast things progress, and how good they feel, it doesn’t matter how long you have been a smoker, giving up will make you feel better, and we are going to outline just how that happens.


  • Day 1 – Within 20 minutes of stopping smoking your heart rate will begin to drop. Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide within your blood will have returned to normal.


  • Month 1 – From about 2 weeks after stopping smoking onwards, your risk of suffering a heart attack starts to drop, and your lungs will begin to work better. As a result, your coughing and breathing issues will also start to improve.


  • Year 1 – By this point, the chance of you suffering coronary heart disease is just half that of someone still smoking


  • Year 5 – Around this point, your risk of suffering a stroke is back to that of a non-smoker, it could be a longer time period depending on the length of time you smoked.


  • Year 10 – By this point, the risk of lung cancer death is half that of someone still smoking. In addition, risk for other smoking associated cancers, such as mouth, throat, kidney, pancreas and bladder cancer also decreases.


  • Year 15 – The chance of you suffering coronary heart disease is back to non-smoker levels.


As can be seen, even over a short time, you will feel the benefits of quitting smoking, just within the first year alone those changes will make you feel a lot better and increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life. That is perhaps one of the more troublesome effects of smoking, you feel unhealthy, but mostly do not realise it, simply because it never goes away. The change when giving up is one of the things most people talk about, how ‘well’ they feel. It doesn’t take long for the body to rid itself of the nicotine and other toxins that have accumulate over years of smoking, and you will feel better.

With genuine health benefits almost immediately, kicking the habit has benefits for every smoker. Your age, the amount you smoke and how long you smoke really doesn’t matter.  Quitting smoking will help you, and you will feel the benefit today.

 updated 4/4/19