Quit Smoking Timeline: Benefits You’ll Feel After Nicotine Replacement Therapy

It’s never too late to give up smoking, regardless of your age or health conditions. Getting through the first few days without smoking is tough. At this stage, making it to three months may seem like a long way off.

Yet, if you’ve decided to use nicotine replacement therapy to help you quit smoking, the 10-12 week period will be a huge milestone.

It is at this point that many of the recommended programs for nicotine patches or gum will finish, and if you make it this far you will notice some key benefits about your health.

Even 48 hours after quitting smoking, your body will start to cleanse itself of the chemicals associated with smoking. You may notice your lungs starting to clear the built-up mucus and other smoking debris that has built up over time. Also, there will be no carbon monoxide in your body.[1]

Your lungs

By the end of three months, the airways in your lungs will have relaxed meaning that you can get more air in when you breathe.[2] During the first three to nine months, your lung capacity will have increased by as much as 10%.[3] 

Stay smoke free for 10 years and your risk of lung cancer will be cut in half compared to that of a smoker.

Your heart

After one year of quitting smoking, your risk of heart disease will have dropped in half compared to a person who still smokes.  After 15 smoke-free years your risk of coronary heart disease will have reduced to a level similar to a non-smoker.[4] 

Other benefits

12 weeks after quitting smoking your circulation will have improved.[5]
Five years after quitting smoking your risk of stroke will be the same as that of a non-smoker.[6]
10 years after quitting, you will have a lower risk of cancer in your mouth, throat, oesophagus, kidney bladder, or pancreas.

These are the big benefits you will realize when you make that successful attempt to give up smoking for good.

It might seem daunting right now, but the important thing is to take it one step at a time. Even if you can make it through the first week smoke-free, you will have increased your chances of giving up for good by as much as nine times.[7]

If you’re using nicotine replacement therapy to quit smoking, statistically you are more likely to be successful than if you were quitting cold turkey.

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to quit other than the way that works best for you. And there’s no getting away from the willpower you will need to get through. However, by staying mindful of these big picture goals that you will eventually achieve for your own health, you can make it if you keep positive throughout the whole experience.