Here's All The Good Stuff That Happens Within Minutes of Quitting Cigarettes

February 4th 2017

Willie Burnley Jr.

Science and conventional wisdom basically tell us two things about smoking cigarettes: that it’s incredibly bad for you (to the point of facilitating deathly diseases) and, though it’s healthier to drop the habit, that it is very difficult to quit. What has often been left out of the equation, however, is how quickly you start to feel better after ditching the cancer sticks.

Smokers see health improvements within minutes.

As the video above from AsapSCIENCE explains, depending on how much a person smokes, their blood pressure and heart rate will return to their usual levels within the first twenty minutes of not smoking. At the same time, their hands and feet may feel warmer too, as smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, cutting off circulation. In effect, both of these changes allow the heart to work more efficiently to pump blood throughout the body.

More good things happen in 24 hours.

A whole day in, and a person who has not satisfied their smoking habit might cough more than usual, but this is actually beneficial. In this case, coughing is the body’s way of clearing itself of harmful toxins hiding in the lungs. The risk for developing heart disease also drops significantly at this point.

Of course, over the next few days an ex-smoker is likely to be moodier, have stronger cravings for nicotine, and be hit with common symptoms associated with quitting smoking such as increased anxiety. That said, as a person’s brain rewires itself to not need nicotine and their body goes through the stages of withdrawal, the act of quitting smoking has its perks: returned sense of taste, increased oxygen in the blood, and reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Just like many other things in life, the process can be difficult but is totally worth it.