I smoked for more than 44 years and knew I needed to stop. I had
smoking-induced asthma. My parents, both heavy smokers, died of smoking-related
diseases. Secondhand smoke contributed mightily to my four children’s recurring
upper respiratory ailments in their younger years. Yet I continued to
Every winter I dealt with pleurisy attacks from breathing cold air. I had to
lie flat on my back for days, the slightest movement sending knifelike pains
through my chest. After I’d recovered,...
After 20 minutes: Your blood pressure and pulse decrease. The
temperature of your hands and feet increases.
After eight hours: The carbon monoxide level in your blood returns to
normal. Oxygen levels in your blood increase.
After 24 hours: Your chance of heart attack decreases.
After 48 hours: Your ability to taste and smell starts to return.
After 72 hours: The bronchial tubes (airways) relax.
After two weeks to three months: Your circulation improves.
After one to nine months: Cilia (tiny hairs) in the lungs regrow,
increasing the lung's capacity to handle mucus, clean itself, and reduce
infection. Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath also
After one to five years: Your risk of dying from heart disease is cut
to half that of a lifelong smoker's risk.
After 10 years: Your risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost
the same rate as that of a lifelong nonsmoker. Your risk for mouth, larynx, and
other cancers decreases.