The health benefits of quitting apply to all types of smokers, men and women, young and old.

Within eight hours after smoking your last cigarette, the levels of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your blood will decrease. As a result, your heart rate and blood pressure, which were abnormally high while smoking, will begin to return to normal and the blood’s ability to carry oxygen will restored towards normal.

After just two days, your risk of having a heart attack begins to decrease.

Within a few weeks, you will notice an improved circulation and an improved sense of smell, so that food will taste better.

Within several months of quitting, you can expect to have improved lung function, with less phlegm, coughing and wheezing.

In the long term, quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease and COPD, which are caused by smoking. After the first year, your risk of heart attack will be cut in half. Within 15 years, your risk of dying from a heart attack will be equal to that of a person who never smoked.

People who quit smoking, regardless of their age, are less likely to die from smoking-related illness:

  • Quitting at age 30: Studies have shown that smokers who quit at about age 30 reduce their chance of dying prematurely from smoking-related diseases by more than 90 percent.
  • Quitting at age 50: People who quit at about age 50 reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 50 percent compared with those who continue to smoke.

Stopping smoking reduces your risk of cancer. After ten years, your risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.

Even someone who already has cancer should try to quit, as this helps improve the body’s ability to heal and respond to therapy. It also lowers the risk of complications after surgery and improves wound healing. Quitting smoking may lower the risk of the cancer returning or a second cancer developing.