Stop Smoking Timeline

by Jemma Wolfe

By Jemma Wolfe
Updated 14-06-23

Stop Smoking Timeline
What Happens When You Stop Smoking?

What Happens When You Stop Smoking?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • What Happens after the First Seven Days of Not Smoking?
  • What Happens After Two Weeks of Not Smoking?
  • Six Months of Not Smoking
  • One Year of Not Smoking — and beyond
  • Quitting Smoking: the myCigara Verdict
  • Quit Smoking at myCigara

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for yourself — not just in terms of the health benefits of quitting smoking, but also the financial benefits, and the newfound sense of freedom as a result of breaking an addiction. It seems obvious to state how good for you it is to quit smoking — and yet, at the same time, you may not actually be aware of the specific health benefits of quitting smoking. So, we’ve crafted this handy quit smoking timeline for our readers.

Breaking down your quit smoking journey into this sort of segmented timeline can be useful for a couple of reasons. Crucially, quitting smoking is noted for being extremely difficult. By having a generalised timeline to follow, you know what to expect from quitting smoking; you’ll have a reminder that anyone else quitting smoking is going through a similar set of processes; and, happily, you’ll have a nice overview of which milestones you’ve passed, and which ones you have to look forward to.

Our stop smoking timeline will take you from the first 20 minutes of not smoking all the way through to years down the line, so you know what to expect and to help you keep sight of the end goal: a healthier, happier, smoke-free life.

What Happens after the First Seven Days of Not Smoking?

What Happens after the First Seven Days of Not Smoking?

The majority of former smokers report that the first seven days of not smoking are by far the hardest. Crucially, this is the stage during which your body begins to wean itself off physical dependencies, alongside the mental pressure of resisting the urge to smoke.

20 minutes

Nicotine is so detrimental to your health that you will experience improvements in as short a time frame as twenty minutes. Nicotine is a stimulant, and one of its main side effects is a heightened pulse. After twenty minutes without nicotine, your pulse rate will begin to subside to the normal levels of a non-smoker.

In addition, your bronchial tubes will begin to recover almost immediately. When you inhale smoke, the fibres in your bronchial tubes stiffen, and are unable to move as freely as they normally would. These fibres play a vital role in removing harmful bacteria from your lungs, which in turn reduces the chance of infection. After twenty minutes without nicotine, the fibres in these tubes regain their flexibility.

8 hours

Nicotine produces a harmful amount of carbon monoxide which works to replace the oxygen particles in your lungs. This causes circulation issues because your tissues are unable to get the appropriate amount of oxygen. After 8 hours, the amount of harmful carbon monoxide in your bloodstream has been reduced by half.

At this point, many people begin to experience nicotine withdrawal symptoms which include anxiety, depression, and irritability. This is one of the main smoking triggers that causes ex-smokers to relapse.

What Happens after the First Seven Days of Not Smoking?
First Seven Days of Not Smoking?

24 hours

A day is all it takes to reverse the short term effects of smoking. Although there are still remnants of nicotine in your lungs, you are well on your way to becoming nicotine free. As a result, there is more oxygen in your lungs and tissues, your arteries and veins are not as constricted, and your heart is working more effectively to pump blood around your body. One day is a massive achievement, because your risk of having a heart attack has already decreased.

48 hours

Two days into your quit smoking journey marks the official beginning of your carbon monoxide-free body. This harmful chemical is no longer present in your lungs. Because of this development, the mucus in your lungs is being cleaned out, and will no longer be replaced by the new onslaught of nicotine that would occur if you were still a smoker. Newly free of carbon monoxide, the stunted nerve endings in your lungs are beginning to regrow. Most people notice that their sense of taste and smell returns at the two-day mark.

72 hours

Even better news for your bronchial tubes, they’re relaxing and expanding more than ever. A mere three days after you had your last cigarette you can breathe easy, because your lung capacity has increased.

1 week

One week is an important milestone for all ex-smokers.Many people stay on track by taking their new nicotine-free lifestyle one day at a time. But once you’ve reached the one week mark it’s time to look towards all of the health benefits that you can expect to experience in the future, because people who have successfully quit smoking for a week are nine times more likely to kick the habit for good.

Your body no longer craves tobacco, which means that continuing to stop smoking for good is a case of mind over matter.

What Happens After Two Weeks of Not Smoking?

What Happens After Two Weeks of Not Smoking?

Two weeks of not smoking is an important milestone in your quit smoking journey. You’ve now made it past what is arguably the hardest stretch; the first week, when your body is working to slough off its physical addiction to smoking. Breaking past the physical addiction is a major turning point, so you should congratulate yourself for making it this far.

Another turning point — however minor it may seem — is that you’re now past the stage of counting the days since you quit smoking, and can instead count how many weeks it’s been since your last cigarette! Even better news is that, moving forward, you’re only going to reap further benefits of quitting smoking.

2 weeks

Your body is slowly acclimatising to its new healthier life, and every area of it reaps the benefits of a life without nicotine. Smoking can affect your body in ways that might not be obvious at first. Any tissues in your mouth which have been damaged by smoke can now begin their road to recovery.

2-12 weeks

Before switching to vaping, a lot of our customers complain about their poor circulation, unaware that nicotine is to blame. The good news is that some ex-smokers can feel the improvement in their circulation after just 2 weeks of sticking to their quit smoking attempt. Your lung function can also increase by up to 30% in this timeframe, which means that you can regain some of the mobility you lost to cigarettes.

This increased respiration and circulation are hugely beneficial for any physical activity; whether that’s going for a run or simply walking up and down the stairs in your house. For more info on this, check out our blog on how smoking affects exercise.

What Happens After Two Weeks of Not Smoking?
Six Months of Not Smoking

Six Months of Not Smoking

Beyond that 12 week period, you hit another minor milestone in terms of time. Now, it’s no longer a matter of how many weeks it's been since you quit smoking; your quit smoking journey can now be counted in months!

This may seem negligible compared to immediate physical benefits of not smoking but, as time progresses, sticking with your decision to quit becomes a mental battle — and counting bigger increments of time past will have a positive mental effect. So, there’s plenty of reason to keep going, and to keep congratulating yourself on your outstanding progress.

This is not to say that there are no longer any physical benefits of not smoking once you get to the 3 month mark and beyond; in fact, this is a period of profound, long-lasting benefits.

3 months

The fact that smoking can negatively impact a woman’s ability to conceive a child comes as a shock to some smokers. But after just three months of quitting nicotine for good a woman’s fertility has drastically improved. What’s more, there is less chance of babies being born prematurely to women who have not smoked for three months or more.

3-9 months

Between three and nine months, your lung function increases by up to 10%, which can help to combat any breathing issues that you are experiencing.

6 months

We firmly believe that ex-smokers should be proud of every milestone along their journey. Six months is no exception. This timeframe marks the moment when your lungs and airways have not had to deal with the toxic and inflammatory effects of smoking cigarettes for half a year. You will experience fewer coughing fits and you are less prone to coughing up phlegm.

Six Months of Not Smoking
One Year of Not Smoking — and beyond

One Year of Not Smoking — and beyond

1 year

One-year smoke free means that your chance of having a heart attack has been reduced by 50% compared to the chances of someone who is still smoking. Your lung capacity and functionality has drastically improved, your circulation is better than it has been for years, and you can look forward to a brighter future with less chances of nicotine related health complications.

3 years

Your risk of a heart attack is similar to that of someone who does not smoke. Smoke cannot damage the lining of your arteries like it did when you were a smoker, meaning that you are no longer at risk of a heart attack from smoking related causes.

5 years

Another positive milestone! Your risk of developing cancer is half of what it was when you still smoked.

10 years

At this point, smoking is just a distant memory. Despite having felt the benefits of kicking the habit, there are a few more plus points yet to come. Ten years after your last cigarette your risk of dying due to lung cancer has reduced to that of someone who has never smoked. Any precancerous cells in your lungs have been replaced with healthy cells. You are less at risk of developing smoking-related cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, bladder, kidneys, and pancreas.

15 years

Your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke has developed to that of someone who has never smoked a day in their life before.

One Year of Not Smoking — and beyond
Quitting Smoking: the myCigara Verdict

Quitting Smoking: the myCigara Verdict

Now that you’ve read through our quit smoking timeline, you’ve hopefully gained a sense that a better future is possible. If you stick with it, quitting smoking will eventually allow your body to heal, to undo the damage done, and to possibly return to pre-smoking levels of health.

Of course, quitting smoking is famously difficult. We don’t want to shy away from that fact, we simply want our readers to see that it can be done, and to see that it’s worth it. You may have noticed that we often refer to the “quit smoking journey.” Trust that this wording is completely intentional.

Quitting smoking is a journey, it’s a process. It takes time and effort; for many people, attempts at quitting smoking don’t stick on the first try, it often takes several attempts. That’s okay! The important thing is that you stick with it; it’s hard to understate how worth it it is in the end. Take a look at inspiring success stories of two individuals here at myCigara who have managed to quit smoking and live smoke-free lives.

Nowadays, the options for quitting smoking are more plentiful and varied than ever. We know e-cigarettes aren’t the right choice for everyone; luckily there are now vaping alternatives that are equally as accessible and user-friendly. If you’ve tried vaping and it hasn’t stuck, why not read up on Heat not Burn technology or nicotine pouches, so you have all the tools at your disposal when the time comes for your next quit smoking journey.

Quit Smoking at myCigara

At myCigara, we exist to make the UK smoke-free. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest decisions a smoker can make, but it’s also one of the best — and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity. to live a life free from smoking.

We also think that vaping is one of the most viable options out there for anyone who wants to quit smoking for good. If you’re able to quit cold turkey, all the more power to you, but most smokers find it easy to relapse when attempting to do so. That’s where we come in; our simple goal is to help anyone who wishes to quit smoking. We do that by offering clear-eyed, in-depth, leading vaping blogs — all in service of helping our readers make an informed decision about whether vaping is the right tool to help them quit smoking.

If this is all new to you, we recommend you start at our aptly named beginner’s intro: new to vaping, before taking a look at our other vaping tips & guides. You can also contact us directly with any questions, and we’ll make sure to point you in the direction. Prefer a little facetime? Then why not locate your nearest myCigara vape shop, where our expert store staff are waiting to offer you friendly, personalised advice for your very own quit smoking journey.

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