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The Real Rewards of Quitting

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When a strong craving hits, it can be easy to lose sight of the benefits of quitting. You might lose your focus, but there is no good reason to smoke. Remind yourself of the rewards of quitting to stay on track.

Instant Rewards of Quitting

When you smoke, the chemicals in tobacco reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale. Your blood then carries the toxins to every organ in your body. There is no safe amount of cigarette smoke. After you quit, your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, and the nicotine leaves your body within three days. As your body starts to repair itself, you may feel worse instead of better. Withdrawal can be difficult, but this is a sign that your body is healing.

Long−term Rewards of Quitting

Tobacco use in the United States causes about 443,000 deaths each year, or nearly one in every five deaths. Quitting can help you add years to your life. Smokers die on average 13 years earlier than non-smokers. Take control of your health by quitting (and staying quit). Over time, you will greatly lower your risk of death from lung cancer and other diseases, such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • At least 13 other kinds of cancer

You will also cut back on dangerous secondhand smoke for your loved ones. In the United States, about 49,000 deaths are caused by exposure to secondhand smoke—protect your family and set a good example. By quitting, you're showing your family and other young people that a life without cigarettes is not only healthy, but possible.

Health Milestones After You Quit

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure drop
  • Within 12 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood stream drops to normal
  • Within 3 months, your circulation and lung function improves
  • After 9 months, you will cough less and breathe easier
  • After 1 year, your risk of coronary heart disease is cut in half
  • After 5 years, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder are cut in half
  • After 10 years, you are one-half as likely to die from lung cancer, and your risk of larynx or pancreatic cancer decreases
  • After 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease is the same as a non-smoker's risk
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Smokefree Women
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Smokefree Teen
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