Special Report

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

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11. Insulin resistance normalizes

Cigarette smoking is associated with insulin resistance, due to nicotine. A study examining people who quit smoking suggests they are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the first two years after quitting partially because of weight gain. The risk declines until at 12 years it’s no different than for people who never smoked.

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12. Inflammation falls

Nicotine activates white blood cells called neutrophils — the kind that protect against infections — and they release molecules that lead to increased inflammation. Research has found that inflammation has a dose-dependent to both smoking and smoking cessation, meaning the more you smoke the higher the inflammatory markers and vice versa.

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13. Cravings begin

The brain develops more nicotine receptors to receive the large doses of nicotine it gets from smoking. This larger receptor pool, without the nicotine flow, is the reason why people have cravings and other discomforts during withdrawal.

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14. Acetylcholine receptors decrease

Acetylcholine receptors, which are found on the surface of muscle cells, are nicotine-binding and take between six and 12 weeks to normalize. As the number of acetylcholine receptors decreases, the cravings the body experiences during withdrawal taper down.

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15. Body temperature normalizes

Tobacco smoke has been found to lower the body’s temperature due to a decrease in peripheral blood flow, but within 20 minutes of your last cigarette, your hands and feet return to a normal temperature.