Benefits of Quitting

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • After 20 minutes, your body starts its healing process. Your heart rate and blood pressure, raised by the nicotine, begin to drop, helping to reduce the stress on your heart and blood vessels.
  • After 12 hours, the level of the poisonous gas carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal, promoting oxygen delivery to all your vital organs.
  • After two weeks to three months, your circulation, which has been restricted by smoking, starts to improve. Your lung function gets better.
  • As soon as one month, you may start breathing more easily, with less shortness of breath and coughing. Cilia, the fragile structures that help sweep out debris and mucous from your airways begin to recover, reducing your risk for infection.
  • After one year, your risk of heart disease, the leading killer in both men and women, is half of what it was when you were smoking.
  • After two to four years, your stroke risk has dropped back to normal.
  • After five years, you have halved your elevated risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and bladder. Plus, cervical cancer risk is the same as someone who never smoked.
  • After 10 years, your risk of dying from lung cancer has been cut in half. Your risk of pancreatic cancer has also dropped.
  • After 15 years, your risk of having a heart attack is the same as a nonsmoker’s.

In 2013, the City of Philadelphia's Ex-Smoker's Hall of Fame Initiative honored City employees who successfully quit smoking.  Their stories are an inspiration to other tobacco users to quit smoking for good.

Learn how Cynthia Dawson and other City employees
became smoke-free at the 
Ex-Smoker's Hall of Fame.


Get Healthy Philly is a project of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and is made possible, in part, by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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