Are you ready to make the decision to stop smoking? Have you already quit? Doing so is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Imagine waking up every day feeling like you have a brand new body and mind. Well, that’s exactly what happens when you quit smoking. The benefits start as soon as 20 minutes after your last cigarette, and they just keep getting better. Here are some of the events that kick start that positive spiral:

  • Just 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate and blood pressure begin to return to normal, as the pounding in your chest starts to fade away.
  • 12 hours later, the carbon monoxide levels in your blood decrease by half, and the oxygen levels increase, giving you some mental clarity and focus.
  • After 24 hours, you have successfully reduced your risk of a heart attack considerably.
  • Within 48 hours, your sense of smell and taste start to improve, and your nerve endings begin to regrow.
  • 72 hours after your last cigarette marks the point at which your lung function improves, breathing becomes easier and energy levels jump. Imagine going up a flight of stairs without feeling tired!
  • A few weeks later the smoker’s cough is virtually gone.
  • Within 1 month your risk of heart disease is halved, and within a year – it is similar to that of a non-smoker.

Not only that, there are visible improvements in our cognitive and emotional well-being: a reduction in feelings of fear, worry, and irritability; a huge boost in concentration and memory function; a significantly lowered chance of depression and other disorders.

But inarguably, it isn’t all rainbows and roses straight away. Many people will experience the unwelcome “smoker’s flu” – a withdrawal accompanied by sleepless nights, grouchiness, or anxiety. But these temporary symptoms are no excuse for putting your long-term health at risk. In the long run, imagine being able to handle stress better than ever, feeling happier, and not having to worry about your health problems related to smoking. Hitting the reset button on your body and mind starts with your last cigarette.

What you can do:

If you’re a smoker, consider which of the benefits you desire to experience the most. How long would it take to get there? What are the fundamental ways in which quitting would benefit your daily life and relationships? If you’ve recently quit, what have been the best parts about it and the biggest improvements you’ve seen in yourself? How can you keep up your progress, without giving into the “smoker’s flu” side effects?

Quitting is no easy feat and there will be moments in your journey that are filled with temptation. But if you make this commitment to yourself and remain resolute, you have the power to transform your life and give yourself the gift of a happier and healthier future.


At Zeal, we believe in strengthening people and organisations. Through our understanding of the science of human behaviour and experience of the workplace, we help organisations strengthen their people, teams and leaders to create healthier, happier and more productive workplaces.
What makes us different is we’re psychologists with business in mind. We are passionate about the use of psychology in the workplace, and aim to enhance individual and organisational health, well-being and performance.
Contact us for more information about our practical tools and the bespoke services we can offer to your organisation, or alternatively email us at or call us on T: 01159 932 324.

Get in touch