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Your Quit Smoking Timeline: How to Ease Yourself Off Cigarettes

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So you’ve decided to kick the habit and finally quit smoking. Heck, yeah! You’re on your way to a healthier, happier, better body — and an even better lifestyle. The effects of quitting smoking are profound and numbered, but you should know up front: this journey isn’t always easy. There may be cravings and withdrawals, and while those things can be bothersome to deal with, you may also start to feel better 20 minutes after putting your last cigarette down.

That’s right — 20 minutes, and it only improves from there! Read our quit-smoking timeline for some more surprising and interesting things that can start to happen to your body as soon as you make the decision to leave smoking behind for good.

What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Smoking

20 Minutes After

According to the American Cancer Society, just 20 minutes after putting down your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure drop to healthier levels. 

8-12 Hours After

Twelve hours after quitting, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will be back down to normal.

After 2 Days

Your sense of taste and smell may be beginning to improve at this point, so treat yourself to something delicious, or go buy yourself a nice candle or perfume to celebrate.

Symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may start to peak the first couple of days after quitting and may last a few weeks. Help distract yourself by taking yourself (or going with friends or loved ones) to a smoke-free activity. Keep Nicorette Gum or Nicorette’s new Coated Ice Mint Lozenges on hand to give yourself some craving relief and address the oral fixation (the National Cancer Institute recommends nicotine gum as a treatment to help you kick cigarettes to the curb). Treat yourself to a relaxing splurge like a massage — you’ve taken a huge healthy step in the right direction, and you deserve a little pampering. Especially if it keeps you on track!

After 2 Weeks

This is when your circulation and lung function begin to improve; this process begins at the two-week mark, and it lasts up to three months.

After 1 Month

According to the University of Michigan, you’ll start to feel an uptick in overall energy one to nine months after quitting. If smoking left you feeling fatigued and short of breath, this may start to turn around at the one-month mark. Additionally, the little fibers in your lungs’ bronchial tubes begin to regrow at this one month milestone, which may help your body clean your lungs and reduce infection.

After 6 Months

Your “smokers cough” should become less of a daily issue after six, cigarette-free months. You’ve overcome a massive hurdle — half a year! — so be sure to celebrate this impressive milestone.

After 1 Year

Your risk of heart disease is now half of what it was a year ago, and the risk of having a heart attack has also dramatically dropped. With a healthier heart and healthier lungs, you may notice that not only does everyday life feel easier but you’re crushing it in the gym and in your workouts, too.

Keeping a strong support system throughout your journey is important! Consider Quit.com, a website full of insight and information to help you stay strong, as well as a customizable email program that provides support for every step of the way. 

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