Skip navigation

person breaking cigarette

According to the American Cancer Society, smoking causes about 20% of all cancers and about 30% of all cancer deaths in the United States. About 80% of lung cancers, as well as about 80% of all lung cancer deaths, are due to smoking.

Join other smokers across America for The Great American Smokeout on November 17, 2022, to start your plan for a smoke-free life. Quitting smoking makes a difference in a matter of minutes.

According to the American Cancer Society, this is how your body begins to recover after smoking your last cigarette:

20 minutes: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

A few days: Carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

Two weeks to three months: Your circulation improves and lung function increases.

One to twelve months: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. Cilia (tiny, hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) start to regain normal function. This increases their ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce the risk of infection.

One to two years: Your risk of heart attack drops dramatically. 

Five to 10 years: Your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat and voice box (larynx) is cut in half. Stroke risk also decreases. 

10 years: Your risk of lung cancer is about half that of a person who is still smoking after 10-15 years. Your risk of cancer of the bladder, esophagus and kidney also decreases.

15 years: Your risk of coronary heart disease is close to that of a nonsmoker.

Get more helpful information and tips about quitting smoking from the American Cancer Society

View lung cancer services at Catholic Health

Schedule a lung cancer screening

Explore More

senior couples walking on beach

Get The Facts: Lung Cancer

Ask the Expert: Lung Cancer Screenings

couple walking

How to Control Your Cholesterol to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease 

man and woman eating salad
browser error

Browser Error

Diagnosis: Our website no longer supports this web browser.

Treatment: Please use one of the following browsers for the best possible outcome.

  • edge web browser iconEdge
  • chrome web browser iconChrome
  • safari web browser iconSafari
  • firefox web browser iconFirefox