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The year is drawing to a close and, if all goes to plan, December 31st will be your very last day as a smoker.

The moment you stub out your final cigarette, signals the start of your healthier and wealthier smoke-free life

Despite this, you’re probably feeling nervous at the prospect of giving up, worried about cravings and coping with life’s tricky moments without a cigarette in your hand.

However, it’s important to remember that the benefits of giving up smoking vastly outweigh any concerns you have about quitting.  And those benefits kick in minutes after you take your final puff.

Here’s a reminder of what happens to your body when you stop smoking:

Within  20 minutes of stopping smoking your health rate returns to normal levels.

After eight hours, the nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in your body will reduce by more than half and your oxygen levels will be back to normal levels

48 hours later the carbon monoxide  in your body will have been eliminated completely.  Your lungs then start to clear out mucus and other smoking debris. There will now be no nicotine in your body and you will have improved taste and smell.

Your breathing will have returned to normal within 72 hours and your energy levels will increase.

Blood circulation will improve within 2 to 12 weeks and after 3 to 9 months, coughs, any wheezing and breathing problems you had a result of smoking will improve.

And the benefits of quitting will continue into the next decade of your life and beyond…..

  • Within a year your risk of heart disease will be about half that of a person who is still smoking.
  • After ten years your risk of developing lung cancer drops to half that of a person still smoking.
  • Once 15 years have passed, your risk of a heart attack is the same as somebody who never smokes.

If you want to stop smoking Help Me Quit is run by NHS Wales and will help you to find the stop smoking service that best suits you. Contact them on 0800 085 2219 or visit

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