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Smoking Recovery Calculator

Created by Małgorzata Koperska, MD and Bogna Szyk
Reviewed by Jack Bowater and Adena Benn
Based on research by
John R. Hughes, M.D. Effects of Abstinence From Tobacco: Valid Symptoms and Time Course; Nicotine & Tobacco Research; March 2007See 1 more source
And many more in the article!
Last updated: Aug 15, 2023

It is beyond a doubt that smoking tobacco isn't cool anymore. It smells, costs a lot, and causes an entire range of diseases by bringing harm to almost every cell in your body.

This smoking recovery calculator shows you the process of recovery after smoking cessation. After typing in the day you quit, it calculates how much life you'll regain and the dates of the anticipated health improvements. Quitting any addiction is a difficult process (see our addiction calculator). Seeing when your withdrawal syndrome will subside or when your cancer risks will diminish stimulates the imagination. It gives hope and encourages persistence in the decision never to smoke again.

The timeline described below is a selection of events after smoking cessation based on scientific research. Click on the provided links to learn more, and keep reading to learn how to quit!

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment. If any health condition bothers you, consult a physician.

The first month after quitting: the withdrawal syndrome

The first four weeks after you quit smoking are the hardest. This is when the withdrawal syndrome causes the greatest discomfort. You'd better plan in advance and prepare yourself to get a lot of sleep, relaxation, and healthy food. It might not be best to quit smoking three days before an important job interview 😉. One of the first benefits you'll experience is the improvement of the sense of smell and taste.

  • Within the first 24 hours, the organism starts to react to the absence of nicotine. According to scientific research, heart rate drops soon by around 9 bpm. It's a beneficial effect of abstinence, but in the beginning, it can cause you to feel dizzy.

  • In the following days of abstinence, you may encounter anxiety, restlessness, and difficulty concentrating. These effects peak around the third day, alleviate significantly by the end of the second week, and usually subside by the end of the fourth week.

The severity of the effects depends mainly on the number of pack years (see the pack year calculator). Clinicians use this parameter to describe the intensity of tobacco smoking throughout the patient's life.

The first year after quitting: coming clean

After the first phase is finished, you start feeling a lot better.

  • Within the first year of tobacco abstinence, the lung capacity improves a lot. It basically means that your physical fitness increases – it's easier to deliver oxygen to the blood and then to all vital organs. You'll experience less shortness of breath and really feel that you quit to be fit!

  • It's been proven that after 60 weeks, the blood pressure in the aorta drops by around 7 mmHg, and the arteries lose their stiffness. In consequence, the risk of heart attack and stroke drops substantially.

  • It's interesting that during the first year, loss of a tooth is twice as likely as that of a non-smoker. Don't freak out! This risk diminishes with time.

Beating any addiction can be challenging at times but requires celebration. Come along and check sobriety calculator to determine how long it has been since you defeated addiction!

Years after quitting: the recovery

The following years of the smoking cessation timeline are a lot calmer. The body heals from the damage and slowly regains its strength.

  • 5 years after quitting tobacco, the risk of developing diabetes in females comes to the level of never-smokers. Males have to wait until the 10-year mark to come back to this state. In the meantime, the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding from the arteries around the brain stem) is down by 59%.

  • After 10 years, the risk of lung cancer is approximately half of that of a smoker (see the lung cancer risk calculator).

  • In the 14th year after smoking cessation, the risk of losing a tooth comes back to the level of a never-smoker.

  • After 15 years, the risk of heart disease comes back to a normal level.

  • 20 years after quitting, the risk of pancreatic cancer is almost that of a never-smoker.

Your life expectancy

After catching a glimpse at the above diseases, you might already feel the severity of the situation. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death. The risk of death from any cause is about three times higher for smokers than never-smokers.

Statistically, smoking one cigarette shortens your life by around 14 minutes. The estimation of expected life regain is based on data aggregated and reasoning conducted by Treatment4Addiction. They took data from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other sources.

Get help to stop smoking now

It's been proven and described in many articles that both prescription drugs and nicotine replacement therapy provide therapeutic effects in assisting with smoking cessation. If you're looking for help to quit, talk to your physician and take all aids into consideration.

  • Prescription drugs – medicines approved to treat tobacco dependence are bupropion and varenicline.

  • Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) – this group includes nicotine patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers, and sprays. They help break the habit of the activity of smoking, separating it from the nicotine addiction and the withdrawal effect.

  • Psychological support – often overlooked, this is a crucial part of a successful fight against addiction. Stay motivated by getting encouragement from your family and friends, join a local community stop-smoking group, and seek professional help from people trained in this field. You can also check out the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative page or try one of the many quitting mobile apps.

Still not convinced to quit?

Smoking strains health and harms your loved ones, but it also costs a lot of money – see how much using our cost of smoking calculator. It predicts the savings you'll make if you quit right now. You'll be surprised by how much you spend every year. Can you imagine what else you could do with this money?

Małgorzata Koperska, MD and Bogna Szyk
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