What happens when you stop smoking…

Back quit decision with exercise, quit list and other steps

Many people who give up smoking start again because they do not realise the numerous benefits of stopping this habit, according to a UK specialist.

Some of the health benefits resulting from stopping smoking appear within minutes and those who take a decision to give up must back it up with exercise and other measures, Dr Hilary Jones told the US Daily Express newspaper.

“As anyone who has successfully quit smoking knows it can be an incredibly challenging experience, and success is often reliant on resolve and willpower, help from a variety of quitting tools and support from other people,” he said.

Cigarette packs are losing their attractiveness with the introduction of standardised packaging, and e-cigarettes, which many smokers find helpful for quitting, are now more tightly regulated than ever before to assure their safety and quality.

“If you are a smoker, stopping smoking is the best thing you can do for your own health and the health of those around you…you will start to see the benefits very quickly, not only to your health but also to the money in your pocket.”

What happens when you stop smoking?


Dr Hilary said once you’ve stubbed out the cig, your health will quickly start to benefit. These are just some of the improvements people will experience:

• After 20 minutes – Blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.

• After 8 hours – Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal.

• After 48 hours – Carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.

• After 72 hours – Breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.

• After 2 to 12 weeks – Your circulation improves.

• After 3 to 9 months – Coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10 per cent.

• After 1 year – Risk of heart attacks falls to about half compared with a person who is still smoking.

• After 10 years – Risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.

Dr Hilary said tips that can help smokers quit include regular exercise and a “quit list” involving writing out a list of reasons why they want to quit smoking.

“For example, think about how much money you’ll save or the benefits to your health, perhaps you want to quit for your family,” he said.

“The list will not only reinforce your decision to stop smoking for Stoptober, but you’ll also find it a handy tool to refer to on those difficult days when you feel your cravings are close to getting the better of you.”

He also advised those who quit smoking to throw away any last cigarettes, lighters or anything that reminds them of being smokers.

As for routine, his advice is :”breaking the routine can help you break the habit, for example, if you used to have a cigarette with your morning coffee, try drinking tea instead. Or, if you take a cigarette break with a friend, why not go for a smoke-free walk? It is important to be honest with yourself and know what your smoking triggers are so you can prepare to deal with them. By writing them out and identifying ways around them for the first week or so, you will stand a better chance of remaining smoke-free.

To keep you motivated, remember that cravings and temptations to smoke, whilst intense, don’t last long – just a few minutes.”