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Your Body, Cigarette-Free

20 Minutes: Your Blood Pressure Drops

20 Minutes: Your Blood Pressure Drops

The nicotine in cigarettes decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood, and causes your arteries to constrict, meaning your heart has to work harder to pump blood to the rest of your body. As a result, smoking causes a rise in blood pressure; high blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease. 

After just 20 minutes without a cigarette, your heart rate drops and your blood pressure begins to return to normal levels. Remember: To sustain the lower blood pressure, you have to sustain your desire to quit — read on to find out what happens next during your smoking cessation journey!

By Brittany Doohan. Published September 25, 2012. Updated April 9, 2015. Brittany is a health and lifestyle writer and editor living in San Francisco, CA.
Reviewed by Shira Goldenholz, MD, MPH on April 9, 2015.