Here’s What Happens When You Quit Smoking


If you’re a smoker, we’re talking to you today. The nation observes The Great American Smokeout on November 19, 2020.  In honor of this day, we want to point out the benefits of quitting smoking over time. Quitting smoking quickly sets off a chain of positive effects to your health that are pretty astounding.

What happens when you quit smoking?

  • Within 20 minutes of quitting, you’ll see a drop in both your heart rate and blood pressure.
  • After 12 hours of quitting, the level of carbon dioxide in your blood returns to normal.
  • Within several months of quitting, you’re breathing easier because your lung function has improved. You stop coughing. Your blood vessels allow blood to circulate more freely.
  • Within 5 years of quitting, your risk of getting certain kinds of cancer or suffering a stroke is cut in half.
  • In the years that follow, you’re also greatly reducing your risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

Focus for a moment on what happens in the first 12 hours alone. First, you’ve lowered your blood pressure, easing the stress on your entire circulatory system. Next, you’ve cleaned out the harsh chemicals that smoking adds to your bloodstream, healing your thickened artery walls. Soon after these initial hours, you’re breathing easier and sending clean, oxygenated blood down to the vessels furthest from the heart – the vessels in your feet.

Here’s the takeaway: when you quit smoking, it quickly improves your prospects for healthy feet.

Diabetes and Smoking

If you’ve got diabetes, giving up your nicotine addiction is even more important. One of the most common complications of diabetes is peripheral arterial disease or PAD. Smoking accelerates the effects of PAD. As a result, the feet of people with diabetes who smoke are at a much higher risk for serious problems.

All smokers should have their feet examined regularly. Residents of Portage, Geauga, Cuyahoga, and Summit Counties can count on expert podiatrists Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland for expert foot care. We’ll even help you find ways to kick the habit. Contact us online or call (440) 903-1041 for an appointment at our office in beautiful Solon, Ohio.