Lung Cancer and Other Lung Problems From Smoking

Lung Cancer and Other Lung Problems From Smoking

Topic Overview

Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. After you quit, your risk for lung cancer 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 increases.footnote 1

Two other lung diseases related to smoking are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Either 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 attacks.

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 smoking.

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.

References

Citations

  1. 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.

Credits

Current as of: February 11, 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.