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Health benefits of stopping smoking

When you quit smoking, the health benefits start right away. Learn how the health benefits increase over time.

You can quit and we can help. You can get free support from the Quit Programme and sign up to a free, personalised Quit plan to help you stop smoking.

After 20 minutes

Your circulation improves.

Your blood pressure and heart rate get lower. This means your risk of a heart attack starts to reduce.

After 8 hours

The nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood go down and the oxygen level rises.

After 48 hours

The nicotine and carbon monoxide leave your body. Your sense of smell and taste starts to improve.

After 72 hours

Your breathing improves and your energy levels increase.

After 2 to 3 months

Your lung capacity could increase by up to 30%.

After 1 year

Your chance of having a heart attack drops by half.

After 5 years

The risk of smoking-related cancers is greatly reduced.

After 10 years

The risk of lung cancer is reduced by half.

After 15 years

The risk of having a heart attack is the same level as a non-smoker.

If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, a mugful of tar builds up in your lungs over a year. The toxic chemicals in this tar cause cancer. When you give up smoking, your lungs quickly begin to heal and get better at removing tar.

Page last reviewed: 5 October 2022
Next review due: 5 October 2025