Within 20 Minutes of Quitting

Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a seris of changes that continue for years. See poster text below.

Within 20 minutes after you smoke that last cigarette, your body begins a series of changes that continue for years.

  • 20 Minutes After Quitting
    Your heart rate drops.
  • 12 hours After Quitting
    Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • 2 Weeks to 3 Months After Quitting
    Your heart attack risk begins to drop.
    Your lung function begins to improve.
  • 1 to 9 Months After Quitting
    Your coughing and shortness of breath decrease.
  • 1 Year After Quitting
    Your added risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.
  • 5 Years After Quitting
    Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker’s 5-15 years after quitting.
  • 10 Years After Quitting
    Your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a smoker’s.
    Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases.
  • 15 Years After Quitting
    Your risk of coronary heart disease is back to that of a nonsmoker’s.

Disclaimer: Data and findings provided in the publications on this page reflect the content of this particular Surgeon General’s Report. More recent information may exist elsewhere on the Smoking & Tobacco Use Web site (for example, in fact sheets, frequently asked questions, or other materials that are reviewed on a regular basis and updated accordingly).

Page last reviewed: July 15, 2015 (archived document)