Health Information and Tools > Patient Care Handouts >  Learning About Benefits From Quitting Smoking

Main Content

Learning About Benefits From Quitting Smoking

Why is it important to quit smoking?

If you're thinking about quitting smoking, you may have a few reasons to be smoke-free. Your health may be one of them.

  • When you quit smoking, you lower your risk for many serious health problems, such as cancer, lung disease, heart attack, stroke, blood vessel disease, and blindness from macular degeneration.
  • When you're smoke-free, you get sick less often, and you heal faster. You are less likely to get colds, influenza (flu), bronchitis, and pneumonia.
  • As a non-smoker, you may find that your mood is better and you are less stressed. You might think that the opposite is true, but after their bodies have adjusted to being smoke-free, people who have stopped smoking say they have a better quality of life and feel less depression, anxiety, and stress than when they smoked.

When and how will you feel healthier?

Quitting has real health benefits that start from day 1 of being smoke-free. And the longer you stay smoke-free, the healthier you get and the better you feel.

The first hours or days

  • Soon after you stop smoking, your blood pressure and heart rate go down. That means there's less stress on your heart and blood vessels.
  • Within days, the level of carbon monoxide in your blood drops back to normal. That makes room for more oxygen.

Within weeks or months

  • When your lungs begin to clear, you cough less and breathe deeper, so it may be easier to be active.
  • Your sense of taste and smell should return. That means you may enjoy food more than you have since you started smoking.

Over the years

  • Over the years, your risks of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke are lower.
  • After 10 years, your risk of lung cancer is cut by about half. And your risk for many other types of cancer is lower too.

How would quitting help others in your life?

When you quit smoking, you improve the health of everyone who now breathes in your smoke.

  • Their heart, lung, and cancer risks may drop, much like yours.
  • They are sick less. For babies and small children, living smoke-free means they're less likely to have ear infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
  • If you are or will be pregnant someday, quitting smoking means a healthier newborn.
  • Children who are close to you are less likely to become adult smokers.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

Enter O319 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Benefits From Quitting Smoking".

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.