Health Benefits at Two Weeks After You Quit Smoking

Woman breaking cigarette in half, quitting smoking.
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If it has been two weeks since you quit smoking, congratulate yourself. While you're probably already well aware that smoking cessation is a journey, you've already reaped rewards. Some may be things you've already noticed (e.g., foods taste better), while others may be more 'behind-the-scenes' (e.g., lower blood pressure). Your two weeks smoke-free has impacted your health in meaningful ways.

Understanding how your body and mind are beginning to slowly heal from the damaging effects of nicotine can provide you with added motivation to never light up again. It will also eliminate any unknowns, so you can confidently formulate strategies to cope with any cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal that you may still be experiencing. 

Here's what you can expect two weeks after quitting smoking.

Smell and Taste

Nicotine, along with the other chemicals in cigarette smoke, harms the taste buds and nerve responses in the nose.

Within a mere 48 hours of your last cigarette, you can begin to notice improvements in your sense of smell and taste—and these improvements will continue as you reach your two-week mark of being smoke-free.

Get ready to rediscover the subtle flavors of foods that, as a smoker, you likely thought lacked flavor.

Unfortunately, you'll also now be able to smell that stale cigarette smoke on your clothing, coats, and inside your home. If possible, enlist a housecleaning service or take your clothing to a dry cleaner for a deep clean (you might even consider this your two-weeks-smoke-free gift to yourself).

Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Yet another harmful side effect of nicotine is increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Luckily, these functions begin to normalize pretty quickly after you quit smoking.

  • Within 20 minutes, your heart rate returns to a more normalized state and your blood pressure begins to drop (your blood vessels are no longer constricted by the tobacco smoke). 
  • Within 12 hours, your blood oxygen levels normalize.
  • Within 24 hours, your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

Lung Function

Within two weeks to two months, you might notice that walking and breathing is becoming a little easier. This is because your lung function is improving and the air sacs in your lungs (alveoli) are beginning to relax and produce less mucus.

Take a deep breath and feel your lungs filling up with smoke-free air. Think about how taking that breath would have felt before your final cigarette. This easy exercise can serve as a quick reminder of why you decided to kick your nicotine habit.

Cravings and Urges 

For the past two weeks, you’ve probably experienced an overwhelming urge to light up—multiple times per day. While these urges will still occur, they will now start to lessen in frequency and duration.

During this stage, you will likely experience a maximum of two cravings per day. Plus, by now, you hopefully have several strategies in place to delay and distract yourself until they pass.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Many of the peak physical withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, fatigue, headache, dry mouth, sore throat, and constipation) should have noticeably subsided by your two-week mark. Of course, this can vary from person.

Feeling improvement in the mental symptoms, however, may take a little longer. Especially if smoking was your go-to relaxation strategy, you will likely still be grappling with stress after two weeks. Over time, as you learn new, healthy stress-relievers (that don’t involve nicotine), you will inevitably become more in control of this.

A Word From Verywell

These benefits are just beginning. The longer you go without nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke, the more health improvements you will experience. This will include for-the-better changes in your hearing, vision, skin, immunity, cardiovascular health, lungs, muscles, bones, and more. Try your best to have patience as your body heals and you relearn a life without cigarettes. And take pride in how far you've already come. You deserve it.

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Article Sources

  • American Cancer Society. Benefits of Quitting Smoking Over Time.

  • American Heart Association. The Benefits of Quitting Smoking Now.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Benefits of Quitting.