The quit smoking timeline – what happens when you quit?

The quit smoking timeline – what happens when you quit?




Lots of smokers out there wish they could quit but find that they stumble at the first hurdle.


If you want to kick the habit for good, you could benefit from knowing more about what happens when you quit and what roadblocks you’ll be facing.


Well your search has ended, my friends, as today we’re looking at the pros and cons of quitting smoking and a timeline of all of the benefits you’ll start to feel when you do.



What are the benefits of stopping smoking?


When you stop smoking you’re opening yourself up to a world of amazing benefits, and you may not have even considered all of them!


For starters, let’s think about all of the cash you’ll be saving when you don’t have to buy a packet of cigarettes every other day!


The NHS estimates that the average smoker could save an average of £141 a month or £1,696 a year when they give up!


If you put your smoking money into a piggy bank for one year just imagine what you could do with that money instead! Holiday of a lifetime? Giant TV? The Christmas shopping spree you’ve always dreamed of? The possibilities are almost endless!


And we haven’t even spoken about the health benefits yet, kicking your smoking habit can leave you with benefits such as:


  • Your sense of taste and smell improving
  • Your lung function improves
  • Your teeth and skin will look healthier
  • You won’t smell like cigarette smoke
  • Your fertility levels will improve and you’ll have a higher chance of having a healthy pregnancy
  • Your fitness levels will improve overall


Sound good? I think so too! Now you’ve got your long list of reasons why quitting smoking could change your life, let’s find out what will happen when you quit.



What withdrawal symptoms will I have when I stop smoking?


Nicotine withdrawals put a lot of people off of smoking, and some people who try to quit find that they fall off the bandwagon as soon as the cravings get to be too much.


Yes, you will probably have withdrawal symptoms, and no, they won’t be great, but they’re no reason to stop yourself from quitting smoking for good! Some of the withdrawal symptoms you might experience include:


  • Nicotine cravings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling irritated or restless
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling sick
  • Trouble sleeping



Will I gain weight when I stop smoking?


When people decide that they want to quit smoking, they might worry that they’re going to gain weight along the way, but they’ll be happy to learn that they won’t!


Remember how I mentioned that your sense of taste and smell will start to return to normal in our list of benefits?


Well when that happens some people start to enjoy their food so much that they start to eat more of it, and that’s what makes you put on a few pounds.


However, if you know what’s going on and try to keep your calorie intake under control, there’s no reason why you would have to gain weight.


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The Quit Smoking Timeline


So, you’ve weighed up the pros and cons and decided that a little nicotine withdrawal is nothing compared to all of the benefits of quitting smoking.


You might be wondering what happens now, but that’s why we’ve created this handy little road map, to guide you through your next 15 years of smoke-free benefits.


20 minutes smoke-free


Just 20 minutes after the moment you say “I QUIT” your pulse rate can start to return to normal. 


Smoking can lead to heart palpitations, which feel like your heart is fluttering or pounding. It can be uncomfortable and scary, but when you quit smoking your heart rate starts to return to normal, so you won’t have to deal with that any more.



8 hours smoke-free


After just 8 hours the nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your blood fall by more than half.


This can be a tricky stage, as you might be starting to notice nicotine withdrawal starting to kick in, but push through it!


Reducing the levels of nicotine and carbon monoxide means that your oxygen levels can return to normal, and your body can’t get enough of that sweet, sweet oxygen.


48 hours smoke-free


After 48 hours all of the nicotine and carbon dioxide is completely gone from your body. Boom! Bye bye, hit the road jack and don’t you come back!


Now your lungs start to get rid of other things they don’t need, clearing out mucous and debris that build up when you smoke.


Sure, you might get an annoying cough while this happens, but think of all of the rubbish you’re clearing out from your poor lungs!


At this point, your ability to taste and smell will start to improve too. Notice that food is tasting better than ever? You can chalk that up to cutting out cigarettes! Yummy!



72 hours smoke-free


You’ve just passed the three-day mark and the perks are piling up. Now you’ll notice that your breathing is starting to become easier.


Your lungs have gotten rid of some unwanted stuff and you’ve got more room to breathe, doesn’t that feel great?


At this point your bronchial tubes will start to relax and your energy levels will increase, so you’ll feel like you’ve got a new lease on life!


2 – 12 weeks smoke-free


You’ve hit the ground running and now you’re in this for the long haul. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint, and you’ve still got a way to go, but you’re making fantastic progress!


At this point in the game your circulation starts to improve, so your blood can get all of the lovely oxygen and nutrients in your body out to where they’re needed most more effectively.



3 – 9 months smoke-free


You’re a few months in now and things are looking brighter all the time. At this point, any coughing, wheezing, or breathing problems that had been caused by smoking start to clear up, so take a deep breath of fresh, smoke-free air and enjoy it!


Your lung function increases by up to 10% at this point, as your lungs have been healing themselves and are feeling a whole lot better now they can do their job more effectively.


1 year smoke-free


A whole year, smoke-free? Give yourself a big pat on the back as you’ve made huge strides on your way to becoming a healthier you!


Now you’ve been rid of cigarettes for a year, your risk of heart disease starts to fall. Your risk of heart disease is now half of that of someone who is still smoking, and that’s a huge deal!


Cutting the cigarettes for just 365 days has done that for you, and the benefits don’t stop there!


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10 years smoke-free


10 years without smoking and you’re not looking back! But you’ll be happy to learn that now you’ve hit a decade without smoking, you’ll have cut your risk of lung cancer to half of that of someone who is still smoking!


That’s your risk of heart disease AND cancer halved! What could be better than that? Well, you’re about to find out, as there’s one more benefit you’ll be picking up very soon.



15 years smoke-free


15 years without smoking and you’re probably wondering why you ever picked up a cigarette in the first place.


Now you’re picking up another benefit of leaving smoking behind, as your risk of heart attack plummets to the same as someone who has never smoked at all! Maybe you should throw yourself a little 15-year anniversary party to celebrate!


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No matter where you are on your smoke-free journey, we wish you a big good luck!


You’re on your way to a healthier lifestyle and you’re making huge progress already!


Need a little help along the way? Why not check out some of our products that can help you to quit smoking for good?


Let us give you the helping hand you need to make it to that 15-year mark!


Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 22 September 2021
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