Call the HSE Quit Team on Freephone 1800 201 203 or Freetext QUIT to 50100

The benefits of quitting

The health benefits start right away when you quit smoking:

  • Within 20 minutes your circulation will improve, your heart rate and blood pressure will get lower. This reduces your risk of heart attack straight away.
  • Within 8 hours the carbon monoxide level in your blood will drop and the oxygen level will go up.
  • Within 24-48 hours all the carbon monoxide will have left your body.
  • Within a few days your sense of smell and taste will start to improve.  
  • After 72 hours your breathing will improve and your energy levels will increase.
  • Within 2 or 3 months your lung capacity can increase by up to 30%.  
  • Within 1 year your chance of heart attack drops by half and within 10 years the risk drops to almost the same as a non-smoker.
  • Within 5 years the risk of smoking related cancers will be greatly reduced.
  • Once you give up, your lungs start to fight back by coughing up tar. A mug full of tar builds up in the lungs of a 20 a day smoker over the period of a year. It is the toxic chemicals in tar that cause cancer.

These are just some benefits. No matter what age you quit smoking, you will:

  • look and feel better
  • have fresher breath and cleaner teeth, hair, skin and fingers
  • have more control of your life
  • be fitter and have more energy
  • reduce your risk of illness
  • reduce the complications of existing illnesses
  • have a better quality of life
  • be a good role model for your children or grandchildren
  • have more money
  • have a healthier family as they will not be exposed to your second-hand smoke