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To would be Ex-Smokers

Second-hand smoke causes 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year. (American Lung Association)

After you quit

  • Within 20 minutes : Your blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal. Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal.
  • Within 8 hours : Carbon monoxide level in the blood drops to normal and oxygen levels in blood rise to normal. Smoker's breath disappears.
  • Within 24 hours : Chance of heart attack decreases.
  • Within 48 hours : Nerve endings start regrowing. Ability to taste and smell enhances.
  • Within three days : You'll breathe easier.
  • Within two weeks to three months : Circulation improves. Walking becomes easier. Lung function increases up to 30%.
  • Within one to nine months : You'll cough less. Sinus congestion and shortness of breath decrease. The cilia that sweep debris from your lungs will grow back. You'll feel more energetic.
  • Within one year : Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.
  • Within two years : Your heart attack risk drops to near normal.
  • Within five years : Lung cancer death rate for average former smoker (of one pack a day) decreases by almost half. Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker five to 15 years after quitting. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, and esophagus is half that of a smoker's.
  • Within 10 years : Lung cancer death rate is similar to that of a nonsmoker's. Precancerous cells are replaced. Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.
  • Within 15 years : Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

Sources : American Cancer Society; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention