Stop Smoking Benefits Recovery Time Table

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Stop Smoking Recovery Timetable


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WARNING: The below recovery benefits timetable reflects averages and norms. It is intended for cold turkey quitters only. E-cigarettes and quitting products such as NRT, Chantix, Champix or Zyban can generate their own symptoms and/or side effects, and may delay withhdrawal or otherwise inhibit restoration of natural brain neuron function or sensitivities.

Do not rely upon this recovery timetable as it relates to any behavioral change or symptom if using any quit smoking product. Regardless of quitting method, contact your physician or pharmacist IMMEDIATELY if you or a family member become concerned about any symptom, or any change in thinking, mood or behavior.


The body's ability to mend is beauty to behold!


Within ...

20 minutes

Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal.

8 hours

Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream has fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.75% reduction.

12 hours

Your blood oxygen level has increased to normal. Carbon monoxide levels have dropped to normal.

24 hours

Anxieties have peaked in intensity and within two weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

48 hours

Damaged nerve endings have started to regrow and your sense of smell and taste are beginning to return to normal. Cessation anger and irritability will have peaked.

72 hours

Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free. Over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals nicotine breaks down into) have passed from your body via your urine.  Symptoms of chemical withdrawal have peaked in intensity, including restlessness. Unless use cues have been avoided, the number of cue induced crave episodes experienced during any quitting day have peaked for the "average" ex-user. Lung bronchial tubes leading to air sacs (alveoli) are beginning to relax in recovering smokers. Breathing is becoming easier and your lung's functional abilities are improving.

5 - 8 days

The "average" ex-smoker is down to experiencing just three cue induced crave episodes per day. Although we may not be "average" and although minutes may feel like hours when normal cessation time distortion combines with the body's panic response, it is unlikely that any single episode will last longer than 3 minutes. Keep a clock handy and time the episode to maintain an honest perspective on time.

10 days

The "average" ex-user is down to encountering less than two crave episodes per day.

10 days to 2 weeks

Recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.

2 to 4 weeks

Cessation related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness and depression have ended. If still experiencing any of these symptoms get seen and evaluated by your physician.

2 weeks to 3 months

Your heart attack risk has started to drop. Your lung function has noticeably improved. If your health permits, sample your circulation and lung improvement by walking briskly, climbing stairs or running further or faster than normal.

21 days

The number of acetylcholine receptors, which were up-regulated in response to nicotine's presence in the frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital, basal ganglia, thalamus, brain stem and cerebellum regions of your brain have now substantially down-regulated. Receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers (2007 study).

3 weeks to 3 months

Your circulation has substantially improved. Walking has become easier. Your chronic cough, if any, has likely disappeared. If not, get seen by a doctor, and sooner if at all concerned, as a chronic cough can be a sign of lung cancer.

4 weeks

Plasma suPAR is a stable inflammatory biomarker that helps predict development of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer in smokers. A 2016 study found that within 4 weeks of quitting smoking, with or without NRT, that suPAR levels in 48 former smokers had fallen from a baseline smoking median of 3.2 ng/ml to levels "no longer significantly different from the never smokers' values" (1.9 ng/ml)

8 weeks

Insulin resistance in smokers has normalized despite average weight gain of 2.7 kg (2010 SGR, page 384).

1 to 9 months

Any smoking related sinus congestion, fatigue or shortness of breath has decreased. Cilia have regrown in your trachea (windpipe) thereby increasing the ability to sweep dirt and mucus out of your lungs. Your body's overall energy has increased.

1 year

Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

5 years

Your risk of a subarachnoid hemorrhage has declined to 59% of your risk while still smoking (2012 study). If a female ex-smoker, your risk of developing diabetes is now that of a non-smoker (2001 study).

5 to 15 years

Your risk of stroke has declined to that of a non-smoker.

10 years

Your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30% to 50% of that for a continuing smoker (2005 study). Risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day).  Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and pancreas have declined. Risk of developing diabetes for both men and women is now similar to that of a never-smoker (2001 study).

13 years

The average smoker lucky enough to live to age 75 has 5.8 fewer teeth than a non-smoker (1998 study). But by year 13 after quitting, your risk of smoking induced tooth loss has declined to that of a never-smoker (2006 study).

15 years

Your risk of coronary heart disease is now that of a person who has never smoked. Your risk of pancreatic cancer has declined to that of a never-smoker (2011 study - but note a 2nd pancreatic study making an identical finding at 20 years).

20 years

If a female, your excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker (2008 study). Risk of pancreatic cancer has also declined to that of a never-smoker (2011 study).

So long as we stop our self-destruction in time!



Noni 32Kim 44Quentin 23Deborah 38Bryan 33Carrie 33

Primary sources for this recovery benefits timetable are: (1) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, The Health Consequences of Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004; (2) Hughes, JR, Effects of abstinence from tobacco: valid symptoms and time course, Nicotine and Tobacco Research, March 2007, Volume 9(3), Pages 315-327; (3) O'Connell KA, et al, Coping in real time: using Ecological Momentary Assessment techniques to assess coping with the urge to smoke, Research in Nursing and Health, December 1998, Volume 21(6), Pages 487-497; and (4) Mamede M, et al, Temporal change in human nicotinic acetylcholine receptor after smoking cessation: 5IA SPECT study, Journal of Nuclear Medicine, November 2007, Volume 48(11), Pages 1829-1835.

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