In just 20 minutes, blood pressure and heart rate return to normal. Within 24 hours, your heart attack risk begins falling. In the first weeks after quitting, tiny cilia (seen here) start back to work sweeping irritants out of the lungs. Within a year, your risk of developing heart disease drops to half that of people who still smoke. And after 10 smoke-free years, you’re no more likely to die of lung cancer than someone who never smoked. Quitting eliminates the pervasive smell of cigarettes on your breath and in your hair and clothes. This is unattractive to nonsmokers and carries health hazards, too. The odor means that the people around you are exposed to tobacco toxins, sometimes called “third-hand smoke.” These toxins can be especially harmful to small children.
How Quitting Improves Your Health