People who quit smoking experience short-term health changes such as lower blood pressure and pulse, reduced levels of carbon monoxide in the blood and a decrease in heart attack risk, according to Everyday Health. Long-term health changes related to quitting smoking include decreased risks of cancer and stroke.
People who quit smoking experience drops in blood pressure and pulse about 20 minutes after their last cigarettes, notes Everyday Health. They experience an improvement in their senses of taste and smell approximately 48 hours after they quit, as their nerve endings become rejuvenated. Within a few months of quitting smoking, people suffer from less coughing and wheezing due to the decreased production of phlegm.
Within one year of quitting, people who smoked decrease their chances of developing coronary heart disease by half compared to people who continue to smoke, reports Everyday Health. Within five years, the risk of having a stroke decreases, and within 10 years the risk of lung cancer drops to half that of those who continue smoking. For those who quit smoking, the risk of cancers of the esophagus, throat, mouth and pancreas also decreases within a decade. After 15 years, those who quit smoking have a rate of coronary heart disease comparable to people who never smoked.