With about 43.8 million Americans smoking cigarettes – nearly 1 in 5 adults – tobacco use remains the single most preventable cause of disease and premature death in the U.S. The American Cancer Society observes the 3rd Thursday in November of each year as the Great American Smokeout. This year, on November 21st, smokers are encouraged to quit smoking. Even one day without smoking can help reduce the risk of cancer and other life threatening diseases. Below are some statistics on how your body recovers over a period of time after becoming smoke free.
- 20 minutes without smoking will cause your heart rate and blood pressure to drop.
- 12 hours without smoking will cause the carbon monoxide level in your blood to return to normal.
- 2 weeks – 3 months smoke free will improve your circulation and increase your lung function.
- 1 – 9 months without smoking will decrease coughing and shortness of breath; cilia start to regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.
- 1 year without smoking will reduce the excess risk of coronary heart disease by half that of a continuing smoker.
- 5 years smoke free will result in the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder being cut in half. Cervical cancer risk will fall to that of a non-smoker. Stroke risk can fall to that of a non-smoker after 2 to 5 years.
- After 10 years of being smoke free the risk of dying from lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking. The risk of cancer of the larynx (voice box) and pancreas decreases.
- After 15 years of being smoke free, the risk of coronary heart disease is that of a non-smoker.
The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.