Benefits of Quitting Smoking

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There are short and long term benefits of quitting cigarette smoking. The short term benefits can be obtained a week to a month after smoking. The long term benefits can be acquired years after quitting cigarette smoking.

Within one week

  • Taste and smell dramatically improve
  • Most physical withdrawal symptoms disappear
  • Fetus is free of nicotine
  • Teeth are whiter and mouth is fresher

Within one month

  • Circulation improves
  • Blood platelets are activated
  • Respiratory problems decrease
  • Energy and stamina increase
  • Pulse rate and blood pressure decrease
  • Hands and feet are warmer
  • Heart beat returns to normal
  • Stomach ulcer risk is minimized
  • Shortness of breath is reduced
  • Immune system is boosted
  • Skin color and tone are improved

Long term benefits

  • Pancreatic cancer risk is reduced 10 years after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Peripheral artery disease risk is reduced compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker 5-15 years after quitting.
  • Risk of mouth, throat, and esophagus cancer is halved 5 years after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Laryngeal cancer risk is reduced as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Excess risk for coronary heart disease is halved one year after quitting. The risk equals that of a non-smoker 15 year after quitting.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease risk of death is reduced after long-term quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Lung cancer risk halved about 10 years after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Ulcer risk is reduced after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Bladder cancer risk if halved a few years after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Cervical cancer risk is reduced a few years after quitting, as compared to a continuing smoker.
  • Low birthweight baby risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker for women who quit before pregnancy or during the first trimester.

Excerpt from The Ill Effects of Smoking, Institute of Pulmonary Medicine, St. Luke's Medical Center