How Your Health Improves After the Last Cigarette Make an Appointment Ask a Question Search Conditions This information has been reviewed and approved by Amy V. Lukowski, PsyD (November 2015). Summary: Better Health Starts After the Last Cigarette (Version 2) I Quit! After the last cigarette, the road to better health starts within minutes and continues for years. Here are the changes your body experiences along that journey. 20 Minutes Blood pressure, pulse rate and body temperature all drop to normal levels 8 Hours Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal Oxygen level in blood increases to normal "Smoker's breath" disappears 24 Hours Chances of a heart attack decreases 48 Hours Nerve endings start to regrow Within 3 Months Circulation improves Walking becomes easier Lung capacity increases and lung function improves Within 9 Months Coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness and shortness of breath decrease 1 Year Excess risk of coronary heart disease is decreased to half that of a smoker 5 Years From 5-15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who never smoked Risk at developing mouth, throat, esophageal cancer is half that of a smoker 10 Years Risk of cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers Risk of ulcer decreases Lung cancer death rate similar to nonsmoker 15 Years Risk of coronary heart disease and death returns to nearly same level of people who never smoked Congratulations for taking steps to improve your health! DISCLAIMER: If you have other health conditions, your results may differ. More Information on Quitting Smoking Quitting Tobacco Reasons to Quit Types of Tobacco Preparing to Quit Staying Tobacco Free Quit Tobacco Resources Tobacco and Your Health Secondhand Smoke Tobacco Cessation Program Find a Doctor Make an Appointment Want to use this on your website? Fill out the content usage request form and then copy this code: or download our Better Health Starts After the Last Cigarette infographic poster (pdf).