Quitting smoking after a heart attack has immediate benefits, including less chest pain, better quality of daily life and improved mental health, scientists have found. Many of these improvements became apparent as little as one month after quitting and are more pronounced after one year, according to the research. “Even in people who smoked and had a heart attack, we see fairly rapid improvements in important measures of health and quality of life when they quit smoking after their heart attacks, compared with people who continue smoking,” said senior author Sharon Cresci, assistant professor at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.Quitting smoking after a heart attack has been known to reduce risk of a second attack and risk of death in general. But little was known about other health benefits that might have a more immediate impact on people’s day-to-day lives and provide additional motivation to kick the habit. The researchers analysed data from about 4,000 patients participating in several trials that studied heart attacks. At the time of their heart attacks, patients were classified as never smokers, former smokers who quit before their heart attacks or active smokers. Of the active smokers, 46 per cent quit in the first year following their heart attacks.