Here’s What Happens When You Quit Smoking

This Monday is a great day to quit and stay quit. Whether you’re just starting out on your quit journey or have been at it for some time, it’s helpful to understand all that you’ll get back when you kick the habit for good.

When you quit smoking, your body gains back some health benefits almost instantly. And the longer you stay quit, the healthier your body will be. You’ll feel different, look different and probably even smell different. There are so many positive changes to anticipate, and thinking about them is one way to stay motivated. So, here’s what happens to your body when you quit smoking:

Your health improves immediately: Just a few days into living cigarette-free, your lung function will improve, as will your sense of taste and smell. After just 20 minutes of being smoke-free, your blood pressure and heart rate will lower. Eight hours into your new life, the carbon monoxide level in your blood will return to normal, while the oxygen levels in your blood will increase. After one full day of not smoking, you’ll reduce your risk for heart attack.

Even more health benefits show up in the coming weeks and months: After 72 hours of staying quit, your bronchial tubes will relax. In just a month, your skin could look improved and more youthful, and your nails and teeth will look healthier. And in two to three months, your circulation will improve, as will your endurance in exercise.

By month nine of living a smoke-free life, you’ll feel completely different: These changes are gradual, and they come faster for some than others. But once you hit the nine month mark, you’ll breathe more easily, feel less tired and experience fewer coughing fits and less sinus congestion. Plus, your energy levels will be dramatically improved.

After one year, your risk for heart disease is half that of a current smoker: This is a real reason to celebrate.

When you reach the 10-year mark, your risk for dying from lung cancer drops significantly:  By this time, the risk will drop so drastically, it’ll be almost equivalent to the risk associated with a lifelong non-smoker. Plus, your risk for other cancers will decrease as well.