Skip to main content

What Happens Inside Your Body When You Stop Smoking

What Happens Inside Your Body When You Stop Smoking

Dec 18, 2018

What happens after you decide to quit smoking is an amazing example of your body’s ability to heal. It can be easy to get drawn back in by nicotine cravings and withdrawal but learning about the improvements being made in the minutes, hours, days, weeks and months after you had your last cigarette can be a big motivator to help you push forward with your cessation goals.

While quitting can be extremely challenging, it can also be extremely rewarding knowing you can see results quickly.

Here is what you can expect within just the first month of quitting:

After 20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drop back to normal levels, and your circulation will start to improve.

After 8 hours: Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood reduce by more than half, and your oxygen levels return to normal.

After 12 hours: The level of carbon monoxide in your body will return to normal, meaning your heart won’t have to pump as hard to get enough oxygen to your body.

After 2 days: Your lungs will start to clear out mucus and other debris from smoking, so you may experience more coughing than you’re used to. Your body will be close to nicotine free, which means you’ll be experiencing peak withdrawal symptoms. Stay distracted from your triggers and lean on your support network of friends and family to help you through it. This will be a good day to treat yourself to something delicious as a little reward since your senses of taste and smell may be heightened as your nerve endings heal.

After 3 days: Breathing should be easier as your lungs clear out and the bronchial tubes inside your lungs start to relax. You may experience growth in your lung capacity. By the end of three days, your body will be 100 percent free of nicotine.

After 1 week: This is a big one! Smokers who make it to this point are nine times as likely to successfully quit for good.

After 2 weeks: Improved circulation and oxygenation may make it easier for you to breathe and walk. Your lung function may increase by as much as 30 percent and you will produce far less mucus.

After 1 month: Less coughing and shortness of breath come as your lungs continue on their healing journey. Try incorporating some physical activity into your routine if you don’t already. Your heightened energy levels and improved lung function may make it easier than it once was for cardiovascular activities.  

Inspira has a variety of smoking cessation programs available to the South Jersey community if you need help kicking the habit. Your doctor can help you customize a strategy that works for you. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Health and Wellness, Primary Care, Pulmonology