Smoke-free Living: Benefits & Milestones

Updated:Jun 14,2012

Woman Breathing Clean AirYou probably know smoking is bad for you, but do you realize exactly how dangerous it is? It’s important to understand your risks, but there’s a lot more to quitting than frightening statistics. Your journey to smoke-free living will help you turn your life around in many positive ways.

After one month of living smoke-free:

  • You’ll soon be able to exercise or perform activities with less shortness of breath.
  • Your clothes, your body, your car and your home will smell better.
  • Your sense of taste and smell will return to normal.
  • The stains on your teeth and fingernails will start to fade.

Timeline of smoke-free living benefits

According to the American Heart Association and the U.S. surgeon general, this is how your body starts to recover:
  • In your first 20 minutes after quitting: your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike.
  • After 12 hours of smoke-free living: the carbon monoxide levels in your blood return to normal.
  • After two weeks to three months of smoke-free living: your circulation and lung function begin to improve.
  • After one to nine months of smoke-free living: clear and deeper breathing gradually returns as coughing and shortness of breath diminishes; you regain the ability to cough productively instead of hacking, which cleans your lungs and reduce your risk of infection.
  • One year after quitting smoking, a person’s risk of coronary heart disease is reduced by 50 percent.
  • Five to 15 years after quitting smoking, a person’s risk of stroke is similar to that of a nonsmoker.
  • After 10 years of smoke-free living, your lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who has continued to smoke.  The risk of other cancers, such as throat, mouth, esophagus, bladder, cervix and pancreas decreases, too.

Smoke-free Living FAQs

Smoking during pregnancy can cause permanent damage to your child’s arteries, low birth weight and smaller head circumference due to a decrease in blood circulation to the fetus. Read full article.



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Watch a video of how Mychael Patterson decided to live smoke-free.

Quit Smoking

Cost of Smoking Calculator

How much does it cost to smoke? Use this calculator to find out. Saving money is just one more good reason to quit smoking.

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Number of cigarettes in a pack:

Price per pack: $

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Total Savings: $

Smokers have more than twice the risk of heart attack as nonsmokers. Smoking is a major risk factor for stroke, too.