Giving up smoking: how your body benefits

If you’re a smoker, giving up is widely accepted as the very best thing you can do for your health. And the good news is the benefits are almost immediate. You’ll save a substantial amount of cash over time, too.

Here’s a run-down of what happens to your body after you have your last cigarette:

20 minutes later   Smoking increases your heart rate, but just 20 minutes after putting a cigarette out your pulse will return to normal.

8 hours later   The oxygen level in your blood returns to normal, and the level of nicotine and carbon monoxide reduce by more than half.

48 hours later   Your carbon monoxide and nicotine levels go back to normal, and your lungs start to clear out the mucous and other smoking debris that has accumulated in them. Your sense of smell will improve, and you’ll be able to taste better too.

72 hours later   You’ll be able to breathe more easily as your bronchial tubes begin to relax. You should also feel as if you have more energy.

2-12 weeks later   Your circulation will have improved, thanks to the fact that there are no longer any cigarette smoke toxins in your system (better circulation may help keep your heart healthy).

3-9 months later   Your lung function will have improved by 10 percent, and you may find you have fewer respiratory symptoms such as coughs and wheezing.

1 year later   By this time your heart disease risk will have dropped to about half of that of a person who smokes.

10 years later   Your lung cancer risk is now half that of a smoker.

15 years later   Your heart attack risk is now the same as that of someone who’s never smoked.

However, these are just some of the benefits you’ll enjoy once you give up cigarettes. Your skin and teeth will start to look better and you won’t smell of stale smoke any more. If you want to start a family, your fertility levels will increase and you’ll have a better chance of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

And of course you’ll be keeping your loved ones healthy too, as they’ll no longer be exposed to your second-hand smoke. Your children, for instance, will have a lower risk of developing conditions such as bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, meningitis and ear infections.

So are you ready?


Find lots of help, support and advice about products that can help you quit at your local Careway pharmacy. Your pharmacist can advise you about nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products that may help reduce nicotine withdrawal symptoms – just ask which type of product would be the best choice for you (choose from gum, lozenges, patches, sprays and more).

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy today by using our Pharmacy Finder.