Here Are All The Things That Happen To Your Body When You Stop Smoking

Photographed by Jessica Nash.
By now we all know that smoking damages pretty much every organ in your body. But, as this new video from AsapSCIENCE explains, not all of that damage is permanent. And your body's ability to heal itself is seriously impressive.
In fact, you'll start to see changes just 20 minutes after your final cigarette: Your heart rate and blood pressure, which had been elevated thanks to all that nicotine, return to normal.
But you're definitely in for some ups and downs (no one said quitting would be easy): After about two hours, you'll start to feel withdrawal symptoms. On top of the cravings, those symptoms might include insomnia, fatigue, and moodiness. And, once you hit the 24-hour mark, you'll actually start coughing more, which is your body's way of clearing out your lungs.
However, once you make it to 48 hours without smoking, your risk for heart disease will have already started to drop, and damaged nerve endings will have begun to repair. Your flattened taste buds also start to get their sensitivity back, which might make food taste better. After three days, your withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst and you may start to develop emotional effects, such as depression or anxiety. But after this peak, they'll start to subside and should be completely gone within a few months.
After one month without cigarettes, your risks for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer have all significantly decreased. Then, between three and nine months later, the cilia in your lungs (the hair-like structures that catch intruding mucus and particles) will be almost completely repaired. So you'll be coughing less and breathing easier.
From there, the video explains, your risk for heart disease will go down significantly every year. And, after 15 years without smoking, your risk for a heart attack will decrease to that of someone who had never smoked.
Of course, the amount of cigarettes you smoke and how long you'd smoked before deciding to quit both help determine how much and how quickly your body can recover. Check out the full video below to see what you have to look forward to.

More from Body

R29 Original Series