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The impact of smoking

Quitting smoking has major benefits, not just on your pocket but for your health too.

In the short term you will notice:

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  • After 20 minutes - blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal.
  • After 8 hours - nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in blood reduce by half and oxygen levels return to normal.
  • After 48 hours - carbon monoxide will be eliminated from the body. Lungs start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There is no nicotine in the body. Ability to taste and smell is greatly improved.
  • After 72 hours - breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy levels increase.
  • After 2-12 weeks - your circulation improves.

In the longer term:

  • After 3-9 months - coughs, wheezing and breathing problems improve as lung function increases by up to 10%.
  • After 5 years - risk of heart attacks falls to about half compared with a person who is still smoking.
  • After 10 years - risk of lung cancer falls to half that of a smoker. Risk of heart attack falls to the same as someone who has never smoked.
  • In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly it’s estimated that smoking costs the NHS £20m a year and 1,000 a year die from smoking related illnesses.
  • One third of all cancer deaths are attributable to smoking.
  • Smoking is the greatest preventable cause of death across Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, and people are more likely to smoke if they live in an area which is classed as deprived.
  • Approximately 81,000 people in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly are smokers.
  • Smoking is a habit which is hard to break because of the addictive nature of nicotine.
  • Over 80% of cigarette smoke is invisible, and opening windows does not remove its harmful effect.
  • Secondhand smoke includes the smoke exhaled, plus the smoke created by the lit end of a cigarette.
  • Passive smoking increases risk of lung cancer, coronary heart disease and reduced lung function. Children are particularly vulnerable. In fact, children are so vulnerable to the effects of second hand smoke that legislation has been brought into effect from 1 October 2015 which makes it illegal to smoke in a car if there is a passenger present who is under 18 years old.

If you want help to quit contact the stop smoking service on 01209 615600, via email at or visit