Updated February 6, 2019
Sanjay Sethi, MD — professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine — advises on what happens to the body when a person stops smoking. “In terms of some of the risks, heart attacks and cardiac complications of smoking, those go down soon after quitting,” he explains. "Your risk for lung cancer goes down after you quit smoking, but it takes almost 15 years," he adds. He also says a person will cough less, their lungs will be less prone to infections and pneumonia, they may experience withdrawals, cardiac benefits happen fairly rapidly and the risk for other cancers will slowly decline.