The Quit: Q-minus 32 hours and counting

I’ve set a date (Sunday night at midnight).

I’ve talked with some family (weekend with mom, brother, and sister inspired me).

I’ve reconnected with QuitNet.

While on the site today, I found something I want to post here, so I can come back to it from time to time.

Smoking cessation timeline – the health benefits over time

  • In 20 minutes, your blood pressure and pulse rate decrease, and the body temperature of your hands and feet increase.
  • Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. At 8 hours, the carbon monoxide level in your blood decreases to normal. With the decrease in carbon monoxide, your blood oxygen level increases to normal.
  • At 24 hours, your risk of having a heart attack decreases.
  • At 48 hours, nerve endings start to regrow and the ability to smell and taste is enhanced.
  • Between 2 weeks and 3 months, your circulation improves, walking becomes easier and you don’t cough or wheeze as often. Phlegm production decreases. Within several months, you have significant improvement in lung function.
  • In 1 to 9 months, coughs, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath decrease as you continue to see significant improvement in lung function. Cilia, tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs, regain normal function.
  • In 1 year, risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is reduced to half that of a smoker.
  • Between 5 and 15 years after quitting, your risk of having a stroke returns to that of a non-smoker.
  • In 10 years, your risk of lung cancer drops. Additionally, your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decrease. Even after a decade of not smoking however, your risk of lung cancer remains higher than in people who have never smoked. Your risk of ulcer also decreases.
  • In 15 years, your risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack is similar to that of people who have never smoked. The risk of death returns to nearly the level of a non-smoker. 


I’ve been a smoker for over 20 years. About 6 years ago, I successfully quit for 3 months. I felt great. One day, I bummed a cig off a coworker after some happy hour fun. It’s a slippery slope and I slid right down it again. I’ve been at the bottom of the slope looking up for a long time. After spending the weekend with my family for my sister’s graduation (graduate school!), I decided I am ready to make the climb again. My brother flew out from Seattle and said he was hardly smoking anymore. That weekend, he smoked a lot. If I hadn’t been smoking, he wouldn’t have either. Big brother is a bad influence and I aim to change that relationship. Come tomorrow night, I’m going to try to kill that demon. It will be an epic battle, but I hope to be the one left standing.