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The health benefits of quitting smoking

Quitting smoking has many health benefits, some of which happen right from the first minutes after quitting. Here are a few examples.

Time since quitting

Health benefits

20 minutes

Your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal level.

8 hours

The rate of carbon monoxide (CO) in your blood decreases until it is back to normal.

24 hours

Your risk of coronary heart disease begins to decline.

Between 2 weeks and 9 months

Your breathing capacity will increase.

1 year

Your risk for heart disease decreases by half.

5 to 15 years

Your risk of having a stroke lowers. After 15 years, this risk is comparable to that of a person who has never smoked.

10 years

Your risk of developing lung cancer is about two times less than a smoker.

Quitting smoking is beneficial regardless of:

  • Your age at the time you quit smoking
  • Your age when you started smoking
  • The amount of cigarettes you smoke a day

Quitting smoking has many advantages, including:

  • Improvement of your overall health
  • Lower risk of a smoking-related death
  • Increased life expectancy compared to someone who continues smoking. For example, if you quit smoking:
    • Between 25 and 34, your life expectancy increases by about 10 years
    • Between 35 and 44, your life expectancy increases by about 9 years
    • Between 45 and 54, your life expectancy increases by about 6  years

Help and resources

If you wish to stop smoking, the following free services are available to help you:

Some pharmaceutical products that can help you quit smoking are covered by the public prescription drug insurance plan. To learn more, read the section on smoking-cessation products on the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ)’s Prescription Drugs Covered This hyperlink will open in a new window. page.

Last update: August 29, 2018

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