Published on July 17, 2018

It’s never too late to quit smoking

When is the best time to quit smoking? Right now.

Senior breaking cigaretteIn your 60s, 70s and beyond, breaking free of tobacco boosts your health.

“If you stop lighting up, you’re likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily, have more energy and save money,” says Deborah Ludwig, Regional Director of Operations, Mercy Home Health.

You’ll also:

  • Lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, stroke and lung disease 
  • Have better blood circulation 
  • Have whiter teeth and healthier gums
  • Stop smelling like smoke

“What’s more, you’ll set a good example for your children and grandchildren,” Deborah says.

If you’ve smoked around your family and friends, quitting helps protect them as well. That’s because secondhand smoke can cause serious health problems. In adults, it can cause heart disease and cancer. And in babies, it raises the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

Immediate benefits

“Within minutes after your last puff, your health will start to improve,” Deborah says. Here’s a timeline of what’s ahead in just the first year after you quit smoking:

  • In 20 minutes, your heart rate and blood pressure will drop to more normal levels. 
  • In 48 hours, your nerve endings will begin to regenerate. You’ll be able to smell and taste better. 
  • In two weeks, your lungs will work better.
  • In one month, you’ll cough less and be less short of breath. 
  • In one year, your risk of heart disease will be half of a smoker’s risk.