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Each cigarette you smoke releases thousands of harmful chemicals into your body. Though many people think it is only the lungs that will suffer, and it is true they will take the brunt of the damage, but many other parts of the body will be negatively impacted, including vital organs like the heart.

However, allied construction industry even the most experienced long-term smokers can reverse some of the harm the cigarettes have done to their body. Your body will begin its recovery process a mere matter of hours after your last smoke.

Here are the health benefits of quitting smoking at differing stages and how your body will mend itself, according to Healthline.

20 minutes after your last cigarette

The benefits of opting to stop smoking can be felt as quickly as 20 minutes into your quitting journey, this is because your blood pressure and pulse will start to return to more normal levels.

Your bronchial tubes has fibres that, while smoking, do not move well due to constant smoke exposure will begin to work more efficiently again. In turn, this benefits the lungs, the fibres in the bronchial tubes help move irritants and bacteria out of the lungs, helping reduce the risk for infection.

8 hours after your last cigarette

It will take just eight hours for your carbon monoxide levels will return to a more normal level. Carbon monoxide is one of the chemicals present in cigarette smoke that will replace oxygen particles in the blood, reducing the amount of oxygen your body receives.

With a reduction in carbon monoxide, your oxygen levels will rise to normal levels. Higher oxygen levels help nourish tissues and blood vessels that were getting less oxygen while you were smoking.

24 hours after your last cigarette

All it takes is one day to drastically reduce your risk of a heart attack, due to reduced constriction of veins and arteries while your increased oxygen levels will help your heart function as it should.

The level of nicotine in the bloodstream has also drastically reduced in this time.

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2 days after your last cigarette

48 hours is the required amount of time it will take for nerve endings that were damaged via smoking to begin to regrow.

Things like your senses may also feel stronger, you may realise you’re smelling and tasting things better than you were before.

3 days after your last cigarette

After 72 hours cigarette-free, breathing will come easier. This is due to the bronchial tubes inside the lungs starting to relax and open up more. Also, the capacity of the lungs increases after three days, meaning you can take on more air.

One week after your last cigarette

This seven-day milestone is not only important for physical health, it will also be a huge mental boost. Smokers who successfully make it one week without smoking are nine times as likely to successfully quit for good.

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Two weeks after your last cigarette

14 days without a cigarette will lead you to notice that you are both breathing and walking easier, this is due to improved circulation and oxygenation.

According to the University of Michigan, your lung function also increases as much as 30 percent about two weeks after stopping smoking.

One month after your last cigarette

After a month smoke-free, your entire energy level is likely to have increased.

Some of the negative side-effects of smoking may have also reduced, things like sinus congestion and shortness of breath when exercising.

Lung fibre will begin to grow back, helping to reduce excess mucus build-up and protect against bacterial infections.

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Three months after your last cigarette

Three months after quitting smoking, women can improve their fertility as well as reduce the risk that their baby will be born prematurely.

Six months after your last cigarette

Going half a year without a cigarette will reduce the likelihood of you feeling like you require a smoke during or after a stressful event.

You are also likely to cough up significantly less mucus and phlegm. The reason for this is the airways are much less inflamed without the constant exposure to cigarette smoke and the chemicals contained within cigarettes.

One year after your last cigarette

365 days without a cigarette will see your lungs boast drastic health improvements in terms of capacity and functioning.

You will breathe easier and cough far less.

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Three years after your last cigarette

It takes three years smoke-free to reduce your likelihood of a heart attack to that of a non-smoker. Smoking limits oxygen flow to the heart as well as damaging the arteries, fatty tissue begins to build up, making it more likely that a person will experience a heart attack.

Five years after your last cigarette

Research conducted by the University of North Carolina suggests after five years without smoking your risk of death from lung cancer has dropped by half compared to when you smoke.

10 years after your last cigarette

A decade smoke-free means your risk of dying due to lung cancer has decreased to that of a non-smoker. Cells that were once precancerous have since been replaced with healthy cells.

As well as decreasing the risks for lung cancer, your risk of developing smoking-related illnesses also goes down.

15 years after your last cigarette

15 years without a cigarette is a huge milestone for a number of reasons, after a decade and a half your risk for heart attack and stroke has decreased to equal that of a person who’s never smoked before.

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