This happens to your body after just 20 minutes from stopping smoking

This happens to your body after just 20 minutes from stopping smoking

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What happens 20 minutes to 15 years after the last cigarette

The addiction to smoking kills thousands of people every year. Every 7th German dies from the consequences of nicotine addiction. Premature death can be prevented by stopping smoking. Whether you are 25 or 70: if you give up smoking, you will already benefit from the first recovery effects after just 20 minutes. In this article we show what happens in our organism when we become non-smokers.

Tobacco use has numerous negative effects on the body and mind. It is a central risk factor for cancer and heart disease, stroke, smoker's cough or smoker's legs. In order for a long-term smoking cessation to succeed, you need above all a firm will and consequence. The American Cancer Society provides information about what happens in the body after smoking the last cigarette and why quitting smoking is worthwhile at any age.

This is how our body recovers from the constant tobacco smoke

The following list shows how our body is gradually fighting back to normal. It's worth stopping:

  • 20 minutes after stopping smoking: The heart rate and blood pressure return to normal ranges. The blood circulation improves.
  • 12 hours later: The carbon monoxide content in the blood drops and the oxygen content increases.
  • After 24 hours: The risk of suffering a heart attack begins to decrease.
  • Two days after quitting: Sense of smell and taste improve. Fragrances smell more intensely and the food tastes better again.
  • Two weeks to three months later: The circulation is more resilient again and the lung function increases.
  • One to nine months after the stop: Cough and shortness of breath decrease. The sinuses become freer. The cilia in the lungs resume their work and begin to carry the mucus out of the lungs. The risk of infectious diseases decreases.
  • A year without smoking: The risk of developing coronary artery disease is only half that of a smoker. The risk of suffering a heart attack also drops drastically.
  • Five years later: The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder has halved. The likelihood of getting cervical cancer is now at the level of non-smokers. The risk of stroke also drops to the level of non-smokers.
  • Ten years after quitting: The risk of dying from lung cancer is only half as high as at the beginning of the smoking cessation. It also reduces the risk of developing larynx cancer and pancreatic cancer.
  • 15 years smoke free: The likelihood of developing coronary heart disease is the same as that of lifelong non-smokers.

Other general benefits

According to the American Cancer Society, stopping smoking has other benefits:

  • diabetes: After giving up smoking, the blood vessels start to work better. This helps the heart and lungs and reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Life expectancy: Smokers live on average ten years shorter than non-smokers. People who stop smoking before the age of 40 reduce their risk of dying prematurely from diseases caused by smoking.
  • It is never too late: It is better to stop as early as possible, but giving up at any age can return years of life that you thought were lost.

Immediate effects after a few days

In addition to the health benefits, after the last cigarette there are other advantages that make everyday life more pleasant:

  • You save money: If you smoke four boxes a week, you save over 1200 euros a year.
  • The food tastes better.
  • Your sense of smell improves.
  • Breath, hair and clothing smell better.
  • Teeth and fingernails stop turning yellow.
  • Everyday activities such as climbing stairs or doing housework do not quickly lead to shortness of breath.
  • Premature wrinkles and other negative effects on the appearance are reduced.

Help with quitting

So there are numerous reasons to quit smoking immediately. Around every second smoker would like to quit - this is how to stop smoking: You can find help in the article "Quit smoking". (vb)

Author and source information

Video: Stopping smoking linked to improved mental health (August 2022).