What changes after quitting smoking?

Prof. Dr. Nevhiz Gündoğdu, who leads the Department of Pulmonary Diseases at SANKO University's Faculty of Medicine, sheds light on the remarkable journey the body undergoes after one decides to quit smoking. In an era where health is paramount, understanding the transformative effects of putting out the last cigarette can be both motivating and enlightening.

Publication: 09.02.2024 - 10:42
What changes after quitting smoking?
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On the occasion of World Quit Smoking Day, February 9th, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nevhiz Gündoğdu reported that the elimination of nicotine from the body further enhances the sense of taste and smell.

Highlighting that smokers are more prone to respiratory infections compared to non-smokers, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gündoğdu noted that smoking, which causes significant damage to the lungs and respiratory tract, leads to chronic diseases such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and other permanent illnesses.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gündoğdu explained that lungs cleared of cigarette smoke work much better after 12 hours of quitting smoking, and continued:

"Quitting smoking also brings positive changes in social life, from the flavors of food to the sense of smell. Even after deciding to quit, a significant improvement and a sense of relaxation are felt. On the second day, a sharpening of smell and taste senses is noticed. By the third day, breathing becomes easier, and over time, you can regain your health. The air in environments like homes and cars becomes cleaner. Additionally, the anxiety caused by addiction decreases, leading to a sense of physical relaxation."


The changes in the body after quitting smoking show positive effects on health in the short and long term. Here are some of the changes in the body after quitting smoking, according to a general timeline:

20 minutes later, heart rate and blood pressure begin to drop.

12 hours later, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood drops to normal levels, which allows the blood to carry oxygen more effectively.

24 hours later, the risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

2-3 days later, nicotine is eliminated from the body. The senses of taste and smell begin to improve.

1 month later, lung functions improved. Symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath decrease.

3-9 months later, obstructions in the respiratory tract decrease and lung function improves by about 10%.

1 year later, the risk of heart disease drops to half that of someone who still smokes.

5 years later, the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder is cut in half. The risk of stroke can also drop to the same level as a non-smoker.

10 years later, the risk of dying from lung cancer drops to half that of a smoker. The risk of pancreatic and larynx cancer also decreases.

15 years later, the risk of coronary heart disease becomes equal to that of someone who has never smoked.

The positive effects of quitting smoking on health begin immediately after the decision to quit and increase over time. Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions for health at any age, and the body's capacity to heal itself is quite impressive.

This information is presented as a general guide, and it is important to remember that there can be individual differences.

Consulting health professionals for support and guidance during the quitting process will be beneficial.