While smoking in the UK has reduced overall, 15.8% of people still smoked as of 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Every year, people try to quit on their own, and every year, only a few are successful. Quitting alone almost never works, which is why many people employ therapies such as hypnosis to repel the cravings. Knowing how the body heals also helps some people put away the pack for good.

While every person’s process is different, the following is gives you an idea of some of the symptoms and experiences that are often encountered in the weeks, months and years after cigarettes are gone.

Hours After Quitting

That’s right, most people experience benefits mere hours after quitting. One hour after the last cigarette, the heart rate begins to drop, returning to a normal pace. Blood pressure lowers, and circulation improves.  After 12 hours, the excess carbon monoxide in the lungs is removed, and normal levels resume. The oxygen in the body increases. Of course, there are many people who don’t make it to hour 12 without help, such as a strong support system, hypnosis to eliminate cravings, or nicotine replacement systems. After 24 hours, heart attack risk begins to decline. The blood pressure keeps dropping, and heart disease risk decreases. The person will begin to breathe better, and will already have extra energy in as little as one day.

Two to Three Days After Quitting

The senses of smell and taste typically start to improve on day two as the body repairs what was damaged by smoke. Nicotine levels are eliminated after day three, and the body is learning to live without the substance. Those who are trying to quit cold turkey often find day three to be filled with irritability and headaches due to nicotine withdrawal. Successful hypnosis eliminates the irritability by convincing the body immediately that the nicotine is not necessary.

One to Three Months After Quitting

Most people find lung function improving greatly after the first month. Coughing decreases, and breathing is easier. Energy is returned, as is endurance. Circulation improves, and past smokers find themselves enjoying more activities for longer, especially physical activities.

Nine Months After Quitting

Most people have significantly healed lungs at this stage. The hair-like structures that move air through the lungs are recovered. There is a decrease in infections of the lungs because these hairs are better able to remove negative substances from the area.

One to Five Years After Quitting

Coronary heart disease is cut in half after the first year of no smoking. The risk continues to drop for some past smokers who remain active. After the first five years, the blood vessels and arteries have been repaired, and the risk of stroke is decreased for the majority of past smokers. The body continues to heal over the years, eventually completely eliminating the chance of various cancers in most people who quit smoking.

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful and that it can lead to potentially fatal health problems. Quitting is the best way to avoid these complications and allow the body to begin the healing process. While everybody’s personal experience of quitting is different, one thing that all ex-smokers have in common is the benefits of eliminating this dangerous habit for good.