Skip to main content
Article The Health Benefits Quitting thumbnail and header

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 reach your heart and muscles more easily.     

  • 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 5 years

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

  • For women, 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 someone your age who still smokes (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.

Quitline can help you

The sooner you quit the sooner your body can start to repair itself. Quitline counsellors are experts in the skills that can help you break free from smoking or vaping, or both. We will help you build and keep up your motivation to quit and help you create a quit plan that works for you.  We listen carefully and answer your questions without judgement and can support you throughout your quit journey.  Quitline counsellors can also support you if you using vapes to stop smoking. Quitline is free and confidential.

There are multiple ways to contact Quitline, including by phone on 13 7848, the online request a callback form, WhatsApp and more:

Download the My QuitBuddy app

The My QuitBuddy is an app that helps you get, and stay, smoke-free and vape-free. It provides helpful tips to overcome cravings and tracking systems to chart your progress. My QuitBuddy gives you the facts you need to understand the impacts smoking and vaping have on your health.

Please note,this information is for general use only.  Please consult your health professional for further advice.  

If you would like to provide feedback, please contact

Last updated March 2024

Back to top of page