Lung Cancer and Other Lung Problems From Smoking


Smoking harms your lungs in many ways. Quitting smoking is the most important thing you can do to slow down the disease and improve your quality of life.

Smoking is linked to:

  • Lung cancer. Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. After you quit, your risk for lung cancer drops over time. The risk continues to go down as the number of years you stay smoke-free increases.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The most common cause of COPD is smoking. Smoking further damages the breathing tubes and lung tissue when you have COPD. Quitting smoking stops the ongoing damage caused by tobacco smoke.
  • More frequent or worse asthma attacks. People with asthma who quit smoking usually have fewer, shorter asthma attacks.
  • More infections. People who smoke have more colds, flu, and pneumonia than people who don't smoke. After you quit smoking, you will probably have fewer of these illnesses.

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.

Related Information


Current as of: November 8, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Michael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.