It is never too late to stop the effects of smoking. Even when you have been smoking for decades, you can significantly improve your health by quitting today.
“If you already have a condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stopping smoking can slow the progression of the disease,” says Kimberly A. Keser, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, family nurse practitioner at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Stopping smoking can also reduce your risk for lung cancer.”
Fifteen years after a person quits smoking, the risk for heart disease is that of a nonsmoker. But you do not have to wait 15 years to see the effects of quitting: Right after you stop smoking, your risk of death from heart disease lowers by one-third. “Your blood pressure lowers right away, and your risk of mouth, throat, esophageal and bladder cancer is reduced by half, just five years after you quit,” says Keser.