Will my Cough Get Better When I Quit Smoking?

Yes. In a weird way, a worsening cough is the first sign your lungs are getting better. Why? Smoke erodes the fine hairs called cilia that line the upper airways. Like infinitely small blades of grass they sway in coordinated waves to remove any particles or mucous that might find their way into the lungs. Once they are gone, infections and accumulations of mucous and foreign material can gather in clumps in airways. It’s a mess but it is a mess you cannot see—without cilia those clumps of bacteria-filled mucous just lay around in your airway.

When you quit smoking, in just a few days, cilia begin to regrow. All the junk that you couldn’t clear out of your lungs before, you can now discharge with your improved lung function. In about a month, when everything is getting back to normal, your cough will decrease. Think of it like turning on a rusty, old faucette and seeing brown water until the pipes are clean.    

 

This information is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.  

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