Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. After you
quit, your risk for lungcancer drops gradually. By 10 years, your
risk will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to
smoke. This risk continues to decline as the number of years of not smoking
Two other lung diseases related to smoking are
chronic bronchitis and
disease or the combination of both diseases is often called chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking damages the breathing tubes and lung tissue.
This damage does not repair itself. But quitting smoking stops the ongoing
damage caused by tobacco smoke.
People who have asthma have more frequent or worse asthma attacks if
they smoke. Those who quit smoking usually have fewer, shorter asthma
People who smoke have more colds, flu, and pneumonia than people who
do not smoke. After you quit smoking, you will have fewer of these illnesses.
You will probably lose your "smoker's cough" 1 or 2 weeks after you quit
After you quit smoking, the damage to the lung tissue slows down. In
the first days after quitting, you may notice that you cough up more mucus than
usual. This is the result of your body trying to clear your lungs. But you
will also notice after several weeks that you can breathe more easily, have
more stamina, and, eventually, cough less.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease...and what it means to you. A Report of the Surgeon General. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/2010/consumer_booklet/pdfs/consumer.pdf.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of
August 15, 2013
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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