A: No, not if the smoker stops soon enough. In smokers who have stopped before the onset of irreversible heart and circulatory disease, the body begins to repair itself. Normally, after a year of non-smoking, the risk of a heart attack is halved; after ten to fifteen years of non-smoking, it’s about the same as that of someone who has never smoked.
While smoking, the risk for lung cancer continues to rise. However, once a person stops smoking, the risk for lung cancer levels off and may even decrease. The cough of chronic bronchitis usually disappears when smoking is dropped but the progression of emphysema may continue.