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Recovery of the body after quitting smoking

There is nothing surprising in the recovery of the body after years of smoking. After all, the body begins to rebuild, begins to live and work without outside interference.

Recovery of the body after quitting smoking

What happens to the body when you smoke?

Nicotine is actively integrated into the physiology of the body due to its biologically active properties. First of all, it is a powerful stimulant, a psychoactive substance that has a variety of effects on the processes occurring in the brain and central nervous system. Nicotine affects smooth muscles – all without exception, which means that each smooth muscle organ in one way or another, in accordance with its properties, will respond to the action of nicotine.

Vessels spasm – blood pressure rises, heart rate accelerates. A spasm also develops in the lungs: due to the narrowed lumen, the introduction of sputum worsens, it accumulates, causing constant irritation and an endless cough in a fruitless attempt to remove this sputum.

Over time, organs develop addiction: what was perceived by the body as a pathology at the beginning of smoking, now becomes part of its physiology. Naturally, the body cannot immediately switch to work without nicotine, it will need help, or at least patience and time, so that the organs and systems work as before. The only pity is that this “as before” is somewhat arbitrary: many of the changes associated with nicotine remain forever or for a very long time.

How is the body cleansed after smoking?

Nicotine leaves the body approximately 20 minutes after the last injection (smoking, e-cigarette, chewing, etc.). Therefore, it can be considered that an attempt to cleanse itself from it begins immediately after this time. Quitting smoking notices this by sudden dizziness – the vessels are trying to expand; for shortness of breath and increased cough – the bronchi are trying to remove sputum; for nervousness – there is not enough nicotine, a stimulant of good mood.

On average, after two hours, about half the dose of nicotine smoked (or swallowed from nasvay) remains in the body. With the blood flow passing through the liver, nicotine undergoes splitting processes to metabolites – the final substances of processing. In nicotine, this is cotinine , which is then “carried away” by the blood to the kidneys and from there it is excreted in the urine.

In the lungs, especially in long-term smokers, a small depot of nicotine associated with mucus may form. But the mucus is also removed within a maximum of two days, and therefore after this time it is not possible to detect nicotine (more precisely, cotinine ) in the body.

How can you help your body recover?

Conventionally, help to the body can be divided into two parallels.

The first is the exclusion of factors that provoke a return to smoking, a competent approach to quitting.

The second is support for reparative processes in organs and systems most affected by smoking and nicotine.

Since recovery times are very individual, the question often arises – for how long should this support be provided to the body? As practice has shown, the most effective support is from the first day until three months after the last cigarette smoked. The minimum maintenance course is two weeks.

The simplest methods of help are sleep, physical activity and water. Actually, this is enough: water plays the role of a detoxifier (cleansing agent), physical activity activates metabolic processes, and sleep normalizes the activity of the nervous system and gives strength for recovery.

No need to drink two liters of water a day – this is popular, but not very sound advice that can be harmful. You need to drink at will, be sure to satisfy your thirst and additionally drink water during exercise, in hot weather, etc. You can add citrus juice, natural vinegar, a little honey to the water.

However, if there is a feeling that this is not enough, if you want to push the purification processes, then additional methods can be used.

Lung cleansing after quitting smoking

It is quite risky to advise medicines or traditional medicine methods without a history, knowledge of age and other characteristics of a person. Therefore, everything related to taking official or traditional medicine drugs is only after a full-time consultation with a doctor. From expectorants, serious complications can be obtained if, for example, bronchiectasis or COPD has developed.

Lung recovery after quitting smoking

Breathing techniques can be used as a self-help technique. There are many of them, from the long-known methods of Sinelnikova and Buteyko, to the modern body flex . You need to select them yourself, taking into account both the possibilities and the state of health.

By the way, do not think that cleaning the lungs will be like the work of a chimney sweep. No “chunks” of soot will fly out – we are talking about the restoration of the cells of the mucous layer.

On average, the lungs are freed from the effects of smoking in about 3 months, although this process is individual and can proceed in different ways. The longer the smoking experience, the greater the daily consumption of cigarettes, the longer the recovery processes take place.

Lung Recovery

Since the respiratory system is most damaged by smoking, the interest in the problem of lung recovery is obvious.

This process starts about a day after the last cigarette smoked: less irritation – less mucus, the epithelium in the form of cilia works more actively. True, a person notices this as a deterioration – the cough becomes stronger and / or more often, the volume of coughed up may increase. In fact, the cilia “push” the contents upward more strongly, it is easier for them to do this without nicotine.

It takes about a week, and the volume of secretions, including when coughing, decreases, the secretion of mucus normalizes. The ciliated epithelium also gradually “calms down”, the growth of new cells begins, which did not encounter nicotine.

After about 6 months, the recovery of the lungs practically ends, and by the eighth or ninth month, the reparative processes are also completed. After five years, the likelihood of developing lung cancer is reduced by 50%, and after 10-15 years, this risk is compared with that of non-smokers.

Potency restoration

One of the problems that people who quit smoking face is a decrease in sex drive. This, fortunately, has nothing to do with the effects of nicotine or the withdrawal process. This is just the reaction of the body after quitting smoking to those unexpected sensations that accompany the refusal. It may also be associated with temporary fluctuations in blood pressure, changes in mood, psychological state.

What to do? Nothing special, just wait out the initial period. But, of course, if there are disturbing signs, you need to see a doctor. Here are just a few of these likely warning signs:

difficulty urinating or pain during it;

pain during intercourse;

severe nervousness, fear at the thought of the upcoming sexual intercourse;

secretions from the genitals.

It is more than likely that such complaints are not related to smoking cessation, but in themselves they require professional attention.

Skin improvement

For many, the surprise is that nicotine worsens the condition of the skin. And it’s not just the harmful effects of smoke or the coloring of the fingers and the perioral area. The narrowing of peripheral vessels and capillaries, namely, they supply the skin with oxygen, leads to its dryness, the appearance of wrinkles, and a decrease in resistance to harmful environmental factors.

Skin improvement after quitting smoking

After quitting smoking, the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the skin is gradually restored, but the visible result will have to wait: the recovery processes in the skin, especially at the age of 40, are slow. Active walks in the fresh air, choral nutrition, cleansing and care in accordance with age and skin type will help her recover faster. And be sure to avoid passive smoking: it dries out the skin of the face very quickly.

Woman’s body after quitting smoking

First of all, this is a social plus: you can talk about sexism and male wrong for an arbitrarily long time, but most men like non-smoking women. And since in our society a lot is tied to social contacts, positive changes in this part of life will certainly appear.

Everything that is said about improving the functioning of the skin, lungs and other systems is excellent. But most importantly, the absence of nicotine helps to normalize women’s health. It is no secret that chorionic spasm and oxygen starvation have a bad effect on the functions of the reproductive system.

Not in vain, before the IVF procedure, the condition of quitting smoking is mandatory. Pregnancy not planned? Then you should find out that without nicotine, the symptoms of adnexitis, PMS, fibrocystic mastopathy will also subside.

What improvements in the body await a former smoker?

Theoretically, and on the basis of statistical data, it is possible to determine the peculiar milestones of body recovery after quitting smoking by the hour.

Recovery of the body after quitting smoking by the hour

After the last cigarette smoked:

after 20 – 30 minutes, vasospasm passes, pressure begins to return to normal;

after 8 – 10 hours, oxygenation (oxygen saturation) of the blood returns to normal;

after 24 hours, the process of cleansing the lungs begins;

after 48 hours, the quitter leaves the group of people with small risk factors for postoperative complications: smoking is considered a factor that can impair recovery after surgical treatment;

after 72 hours, hematopoietic processes begin to return to normal. The motility of bronchioles is restored;

after a month – the sense of smell and the ability to taste tastes improve;

by the second month, skin cells are restored;

after four months, the work of the digestive tract normalizes, blood vessels are restored;

the lungs practically recovered, their “working” volume increased, blood counts returned to age norms;

after a year, the risk of developing angina pectoris and related cardiac pathologies is halved;

5 years after quitting smoking, the risk of lung cancer is halved, and after 10 years it is equal to the incidence rate in non-smokers;

on average, after 15 years, the state of the body after quitting smoking comes to the indicators of people who have never smoked.

body recovery table


Blood 1 month Renewal of “white blood” cells and platelets.

2 months         Blood cells are completely renewed.

6 months         Completely normalized blood tests.

Skin     1 month           Dull complexion disappears, epidermis is renewed.

2 months         Fully restored complexion, improves elasticity.

Vessels            3 months         Almost complete restoration of tone and elasticity of vessels and small capillaries.

Lungs 6 months Lung capacity increases, cough disappears.

8 months         There is a persistent improvement in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Liver   6 months         Regeneration of hepatocytes begins .

12 months       Hepatocyte regeneration begins .

Heart   6 months Full recovery of the heart due to good blood flow through the vessels. The heart rate is close to normal.

Stomach and intestines           1 month           Gastric mucosa is restored .

6 months The work of the intestines was       normalized , the secretion of gastric juice was adjusted, appetite improved.

More information about these data can be found in the Quitting Smoking Calendar and Quitting Smoking Handbook .

Weight gain after quitting smoking

Weight gain after quitting smoking is not uncommon, and it often becomes an obstacle to successful quitting. Meanwhile, the body is gaining weight not only due to the fact that a person “seizes” the desire to smoke. It is also a consequence of the restoration of normal, “native” metabolism.

Nicotine affects the production of many active substances involved in the work of the body, including those that affect appetite, the course of digestion processes. Nicotine also activates the nervous system well, which also helps curb appetite and reduces cravings for high-calorie foods.

Controlling the desire to snack, a small calorie deficit, an active lifestyle (at least walk for at least 20 minutes a day), avoiding overeating, sweets, adherence to a diet – these measures are well known, simple, effective.

It is they who will help prevent a critical increase in body weight after giving up, and after about 4 months this problem will lose its connection with smoking cessation (it will go into the category of a common and common weight struggle among the masses).

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