Special Report

This Is Exactly What Happens to Your Body Once You Stop Smoking

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6. Walking is easier

You’re going to experience fewer bouts of shortness of breath within two weeks, making walking and other aerobic activities much easier. A study found that smokers had an earlier onset of cramping pain in the leg, usually caused by obstruction of the arteries, during walking than non-smokers.

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7. Night vision improves

Quitting the bad habit will reduce the risk of developing cataracts in the long term, but will improve your night vision almost immediately. Nicotine restricts the production of a hormone your eyes need so they can see at night.

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8. Cholesterol levels drop

There is evidence that ex-smokers have higher HDL (“good” cholesterol) concentrations than current smokers. The positive change happens in less than three weeks, with no clear pattern of change after that.

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9. Cilia start to regrow

Cilia, which are tiny hairs in the lungs that are responsible for clearing out toxins, start regrowing after about nine months of no smoking. This increases the lungs’ capacity to handle mucus, leading to less coughing and shortness of breath.

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10. White blood cell counts go back to normal

Smoking cessation has been shown to lead to a quick and sustained decrease in white blood cells. Changes typically happen in the first six months after a person has stopped smoking. (A high level of WBC indicates the immune system is working hard, trying to fight inflammation caused by the toxins in cigarette smoke.)