Tobacco Free Campus - July 1, 2012

Health Benefits of Quitting Use of Tobacco Products

Smoking is dangerous to one’s health (and the health of others) in multiple, profound ways. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., and is the direct cause and/or contributing factor in many different serious negative health effects. Quitting smoking is the single most important step in improving (or reclaiming) one’s health. It is never too late to quit!

When smokers quit, what are the benefits over time?

20 minutes after quitting
Your heart rate and blood pressure drop. (Effect of smoking on arterial stiffness and pulse pressure amplification, Mahmud A, Feely J. Hypertension. 2003:41:183).

12 hours after quitting
The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1988, p. 202).

2 weeks to 3 months after quitting
Your circulation improves, and your lung function increases. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp.193, 194,196, 285, 323).

1 to 9 months after quitting
Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 1990, pp. 285-287, 304).

1 year after quitting
The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a continuing smoker’s. (US Surgeon General’s Report, 2010, p. 359).

5 years after quitting
Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half. Cervical cancer risk falls to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2-5 years. (A Report of the Surgeon General: How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease—The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease Fact Sheet, 2010; and Tobacco Control: Reversal of Risk After Quitting Smoking. IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 11. 2007, p. 341).

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Last modified: Mar 13, 2014

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