What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Smoking

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Smoking

Written by: Lung Health
September 28, 2019

When you quit smoking, your body begins to heal itself within minutes. Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate drop. Quitting smoking decreases inflammation, boosts the immune system and lowers your risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

If you have chronic lung disease, quitting smoking is the most proactive step you can take toward bettering your health. Keep reading to learn more about what happens to your body when you stop smoking.

The First 5 Days

Within the first 5 days, carbon monoxide levels in the body will return to normal. Carbon monoxide is a toxic substance that replaces oxygen in your blood cells, so as it exits the body, your oxygen levels will rise.

Smoking damages the nerves you use to smell and taste. After you stop smoking, the nerves will heal themselves, and these senses will be heightened. The aromas and flavors of food will be more vivid and appealing.

After 3 days, your body will be completely depleted of nicotine. While this is beneficial for your health, it won’t feel good for your body right now. You might have withdrawal symptoms, which can include mood swings, irritability, headaches, nicotine cravings, anxiety, depression, nausea, sweating and insomnia. 

Although these symptoms sound unpleasant, view them as a step in the right direction: your body and brain are fighting to break the cycle of addiction caused by nicotine. 

The First 5 Months

Within 5 months, your lung function improves, and your lung capacity increases as the bronchial tubes in your airways start to open up. You’ll have increased energy, better exercise tolerance and fewer episodes of coughing, congestion and shortness of breath. 

The tiny, hair-like cilia in your lungs heal from the damage caused by cigarette smoke. The cilia are responsible for clearing mucus, bacteria and irritants out of the lungs.

The First 5 Years

Throughout the first 5 years, your arteries and blood vessels will start to widen, which reduces your risk for blood clots, strokes and heart attacks. After 1 year of not smoking, your chances of having a heart attack drop by 50%. You’ll also have a reduced risk for developing bladder, esophagus, throat, mouth and cervical cancers. 

Beyond 5 Years

You’ll reap more benefits the longer you remain smoke-free. After 10 years, your lung cancer risk decreases by 50%. After 15 years, your risk for developing heart disease or a stroke is the same as that of someone who doesn’t smoke. After 20 years, you are much less likely to die from lung disease or lung cancer. The life expectancy for someone who doesn’t smoke is 10 years longer than for someone who does smoke.

As you’ve learned, the body has an amazing ability to heal itself. Cellular therapy at Lung Health Institute also utilizes the body’s natural healing properties to help treat chronic lung disease. Cellular therapy uses concentrated platelet-rich plasma-platelet concentrate (PRP-PC) to potentially reduce inflammation in the lungs and slow the progression of the disease. 

If you are interested in learning more or scheduling a free consultation, contact one of our patient coordinators today.

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Every day the Lung Health Institute is changing people’s lives. Our duty and obligation is to help our patients, and we know we are doing something special for them. We measure our success by our patients’ success and their satisfaction with our services and the care they receive from our dedicated staff.


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