Our website is best
viewed in portrait

Please rotate your display

Scroll to top

24h Emergency: 082 911 | General Contact: 0860 002 378

May 15, 2024

From the moment after your last cigarette, your body immediately undergoes serious and profound changes. So, what happens when you finally kick the butts? Here’s how a healthier, more vibrant you may just be at the end of the last puff.

A healthy heart

Within just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure will begin to decrease.

High blood pressure and an abnormally fast heartbeat are directly linked to a higher risk of heart-related issues. So, the normalisation of these two vital signs is essential. Within 24 hours of your last cigarette, your risk for a heart attack begins to decrease as well. So, day one of quitting is already a big step in the right direction.

Over time your heart and blood vessels will continue to heal, further reducing your risk of heart disease – one of the leading causes of death caused by smoking. If you smoke and have a history of heart problems in your family, it is in your best interest to quit as soon as you possibly can.

Take a deep breath

After 72 hours, you will breathe easier. This is because the bronchial tubes inside your lungs start to relax and open up. Your lung capacity will improve, making walking, running, and climbing stairs much easier.

Toxicants in tobacco smoke paralyse the cilia (tiny hair-like structures within the lungs), eventually destroying them. Over the next 9 months, the cilia start regaining normal function, cleaning your lungs and reducing your risk of infection. Your lung function may increase up to 10%.

The C-word

One of the most well-known risks associated with smoking is lung cancer. It also significantly increases the risk for cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas. Quitting smoking decreases your risk for these cancers dramatically, as well as reducing the risk of diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, heart disease, and stroke.

Stop and smell the flowers

Within just 48 hours, your ability to taste and smell will sharpen. Food will taste better and smells will be clearer. Studies have shown that smokers have a significantly lower taste sensitivity than non-smokers. The higher the nicotine dependence, known as Fagerström scores, the lower the taste sensitivity. So, lifelong smokers may experience a major shift in taste and smell sensitivity after kicking the butts.

A clear complexion

Smoking starves your skin of oxygen and nutrients, accelerating the ageing process. Within a few weeks of your last cigarette, your skin will look healthier and more radiant. Over time, the damage done by the toxins in the cigarettes may even be reversed.

If you want to stop smoking, be honest with yourself. Find a reason to quit and let that be your motivation. Acknowledge that you are about to undertake a very difficult challenge, and that you will be tempted along the way. Celebrate every cigarette you choose not to have and remember not to rush yourself.

If you’ve already quit, congratulations! Be proud of yourself and enjoy your new life. Breathe in every moment.

Keep an eye out for the next issue of Bestmed News, where we’ll take a look at some of the common withdrawal symptoms when you quit smoking and how to handle them.



Highlights: Scientific Review of Findings Regarding Respiratory Diseases. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Quit smoking. NHS. Accessed 2024. Available here.

What to expect when you quit smoking. Better Health Channel. Accessed 2024. Available here.

What happens after you quit smoking? MedicalNewsToday. 2023. Available here.

Benefits of Quitting. CDC. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Benefits of Quitting. American Lung Association. Accessed 2024. Available here.

Effect of cigarette smoke on gustatory sensitivity, evaluation of the deficit and of the recovery time-course after smoking cessation. National Library of Medicine. 2017. Available here.

Related posts