Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Each year, approximately 500,000 Iowans smoke about 5 billion cigarettes, and 4,800 Iowans who smoke die of smoking related disease. Many people don’t realize that cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 known poisons or that tobacco is addictive—until they’re hooked. If you are a smoker, the good news is that quitting gives immediate health benefits, no matter how long you have smoked…

Changes your body goes through after you stop smoking…

Within 20 minutes of your last cigarette:

  • Blood pressure drops
  • Pulse rate drops to normal
  • Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal

After 8 hours:

  • Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal
  • Oxygen level in blood increases to normal

After 24 hours:

  • Chances of heart attack decrease

After 48 hours:

  • Nerve endings start regrowing
  • Ability to smell and taste is enhanced

 Within 2 weeks to 3 months:

  • Circulation improves
  • Walking becomes easier
  • Lung function increases up to 30%

Within 1 to 9 months:

  • Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, shortness of breath decrease
  • Cilia regrow in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean lungs and reduce infection
  • Body’s overall energy increases

After 1 year:

  • Excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker

After 5 years:

  • Lung cancer death rate for average former smoker (one pack a day)
    decreases by ½
  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus is half that of a smoker’s
  • Stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker (5-15 years after quitting)

After 10 years:

  • Lung cancer rates similar to that of a nonsmoker
  • Precancerous cells are replaced
  • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases

After 15 years:

  • Risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker

 What’s in smoke:

There are over 4,000 chemicals that are present in cigarette smoke, 63 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.


Tobacco Links – Campaign for tobacco-free kids – Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium – CDC’s Office of Smoking and Health – Community Toolbox