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The health benefits of quitting smoking

As soon as you quit, your body starts to repair. Find out about all the health benefits of quitting.

We hear a lot about the health risks of smoking – but what happens when you quit?

Good news! As soon as you stop smoking your body begins to repair itself.

Over time, your risk of life-threatening health problems, including heart disease and stroke, drops dramatically. 

The health benefits of quitting smoking:

Within 6 hours

  • Your heart rate slows and your blood pressure becomes more stable.

Within a day
  • The level of carbon monoxide in your blood has dropped and oxygen can more easily reach your heart and muscles.     

  • Your fingertips become warmer and your hands steadier.

Within a week

  • Your sense of taste and smell may improve.

  • You have higher blood levels of protective antioxidants such as vitamin C.

Within 3 months

  • You’re coughing and wheezing less.

  • Your lungs’ natural cleaning system is recovering, becoming better at removing mucus, tar and dust from your lungs (exercise helps to clear out your lungs).

  • Your immune system is beginning its recovery so your body is better at fighting off infection.

  • Your blood is less thick and sticky and blood flow to your hands and feet has improved.

Within 6 months

  • You are less likely to be coughing up phlegm.

  • You're likely to feel less stressed than when you were smoking.

After 1 year

  • Your lungs are now healthier and you’ll be breathing easier than if you’d kept smoking.

Within 2 to 5 years

  • There is a large drop in your risk of heart attack and stroke and this risk will continue to gradually decrease over time.

  • For women, within five years, the risk of cervical cancer is the same as someone who has never smoked.

After 10 to 15 years

  • Your risk of lung cancer is half that of a continuing smoker of a similar age (provided the disease was not already present when you quit).

After 20 years

  • Your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to that of a person who has never smoked.

Over time, your risk of cancer, lung disease, and many other serious diseases will be much lower than if you keep smoking. 

How fast and how well your body recovers can depend on the number of cigarettes you normally smoke and how long you’ve been smoking, and whether you already have a smoking-related disease.

Request a Quitline callback

The sooner you quit the sooner your body can start to repair itself.

Visit our Quit Tips Hub for more information and tools to help you stop smoking. Chat to Quitline about the benefits of quitting or request a Quitline callback. Or see how quitting is good for your family and friends’ health, too. 

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