Why Smoke-Free Is the Way to Be

It is a well-known fact that smoking is bad for your health. However, many in Maryland still can’t seem to kick the habit; in 2016, approximately 15 percent of the state’s adult population had reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes within their lifetime and currently smoke every day or some days.

We’re here to help those who are thinking about quitting understand all of the great things that happen in the body when you quit smoking. Below are just a few of the ways your body recovers from head to toe after you say goodbye to cigarettes.

Brain and Head

  1. You reduce your risk of wrinkles and blemishes on your face, as well as keep your skin from aging early.
  2. You rewire your brain in a way that makes you not crave the cigarettes anymore. That’s because you change the levels of chemicals in the brain back to normal.
  3. Your hearing and vision improve.
  4. Your mouth will be cleaner, leaving you with whiter teeth and a reduced risk of gum disease.

Heart and Lungs

  1. You lower your chances of developing heart disease, heart attacks and lower your cholesterol.
  2. Your blood will become thinner, lowering the chance of blot clots (bits of the blood that become a blob and get stuck in places) and the blood will pump through your body more easily.
  3. Your lungs will not be scarred or keep scarring.
  4. You can avoid emphysema, a disease that damages the air sacs in the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe.


  1. You will lower your chances of developing diabetes. If you already have it, quitting will help you manage your blood sugar levels better.
  2. You may lessen the amount of belly fat on your body.

Sexual and Reproductive Ability

  1. If you’re male, you can lower your chances of developing erectile dysfunction.
  2. If you’re female, your estrogen levels will eventually return to normal and increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy (if desired).

Bones and Muscles

  1. The amount of oxygen in your body increases, making your muscles healthier and stronger.
  2. You can lower your risk of fractures (broken bones) by keeping your bones healthy when you quit.

Timeline of What Happens When You First Quit

Here is a more detailed overview of what happens to your body immediately after you smoke your last cigarette:

20 minutes: In the amount of time it takes you to watch one roughly one episode of a show on Netflix, your blood pressure and pulse will return to normal and your hands/feet become warmer.

Eight hours: By the time your work day is done, there will be about half the amount of carbon monoxide and nicotine in your blood, allowing more oxygen into your body.

24 hours: After one full day without a cigarette, you will drastically have lowered your chances of having a heart attack.

48 hours: After two days, your taste and sense of smell will greatly improve. In addition, your lungs will start to clean themselves out and you may cough up some mucus. Be careful, though: The 48-hour mark is around the point where you’ll start to feel withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, hunger and depression. Find a good support system to get yourself through this tough time.

Two weeks to three months: Your body will be getting healthier by the minute and you will be able to exercise more without becoming tired or winded. As a bonus, you will have officially come out of the hardest part of your withdrawal!

One year: Be sure to treat yourself to celebrate! You will have been clean for one year and have cut your risk of heart disease in half!

If you’re ready to take the next big step to improve your health and quit, contact the specialists at the Maryland Tobacco Quitline or contact us today!