The Health Benefits One Year After You Quit Smoking

The Risk of Heart Disease Goes Down Significantly

Female doctor using stethoscope on patient.
Dougal Waters / Getty Images

At one year smoke-free, ex-smokers hit an important milestone related to the health benefits of quitting smoking:

The excess risk of coronary heart disease drops to half that of current smokers.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States today, and it's the leading cause of smoking-related death for smokers, too.  Toxins in cigarette smoke cause damage to the heart in a number of ways.

Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to the heart. Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate, both of which are hard on the heart, and the chemicals in cigarettes contribute to atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries.

If you smoke, quitting is the absolute best thing you can do for your heart and for your health overall.

Give Yourself the Benefit of a Full Year to Quit Smoking

Once we quit, most ex-smokers are impatient to be free of smoking cessation.  We want to reach a state of mind where cigarettes no longer hold any importance. While this should be the goal, and it is definitely achievable, give yourself some time to heal from the many associations that have built up between smoking and daily life over the years.

Relax and take the time you need to recover from nicotine addiction.  Don't stress if you suddenly crave a smoke months after quitting.

Old programming in our brains get triggered now and then, but the more practice you get with smoke-free living, the less errant thoughts of smoking will pop up.

A Certificate to Acknowledge Your Accomplishment

If you've put a year between you and the last cigarette you smoked, congratulations. The benefits of the positive choices you've made will continue to grow as you move forward from here.

Here at Verywell, we offer certificates (free) to commemorate your first year smoke free. They can be printed out and framed, or used as a wallpaper background for your computer.

If you'd like a personalized certificate, we need:  1) your name as you'd like it to appear, 2) your one year smoke-free date, 3) the certificate number you'd like.  

Send your request to  We'll customize your certificate and mail it back to you as a .jpg file.

Smoking affects who we are more than most of us realize. On an emotional level, quitting tobacco is similar to peeling back the layers of the onion to find the person you were meant to be before addiction stepped into your life.

Read through some of the perspectives of those who have completed their first year smoke free:

Statistics tell us that only 7% of those who quit without support of some kind are still smoke-free at the end of their first year. However, with support, the odds are much improved.

Fortify your quit program by connecting with others who are going through what you are at our Smoking Cessation Support Forum.

At Two Years Smoke-Free:

Your chance of achieving long-term success with smoking cessation increases significantly after two years.  Statistics tell us that 80 out of 100 people who stay smoke-free for two years never smoke again.


If you're thinking about quitting smoking, there is no time like the present to get started. Change begins with a single first step. Stop just thinking about quitting, and start taking action. Throw the cigarettes away, and start your quit today.

Use these 10 online lessons as your starting point.

Next:  Quit Smoking Benefits: 5 to 15 Years

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2004 Surgeon General's Report: Poster: Within 20 Minutes of Quitting May 27, 2004.