The lungs are a remarkable organ system that, in some cases, have the ability to repair themselves over time. After quitting smoking, the lungs slowly begin to heal and regenerate. The speed at which they heal depends on how long you have smoked and the extent of the damage. Yes, your lungs can return to normal after quitting smoking.
Coughing and shortness of breath decrease. The tiny hair-like structures (called cilia) that move mucus out of the lungs begin to regain their normal function, increasing their ability to handle mucus, clear the lungs and reduce the risk of infection. If you plan to quit smoking, take steps now to properly detoxify your lungs. Drink more water to help your body get rid of toxins and other carcinogens.
Change your diet, eat less salt and sugar and increase your intake of nutrient-rich foods that will help your body develop new, healthy tissues. Also consider increasing your level of physical activity. Yoga, in particular, is a good option because you will learn breathing techniques that open up your lungs. Even if you have already tried several times to quit smoking, it is never too late to quit.
Even a day after quitting, your lung health and blood pressure will improve. Staying smoke-free will help you avoid symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing and conditions such as emphysema and lung cancer, which drastically reduce your quality of life or can lead to premature death. Your lungs are a vital organ, and every puff of a cigarette affects their function. Quitting smoking will dramatically improve your lung health, so seek help today and learn about local smoking cessation programmes and resources.
It takes time to quit, so extra support may help you to stop smoking and not quit permanently. Your lungs are self-cleaning, which means they will gradually heal and regenerate on their own after quitting. However, there are certain lifestyle behaviours you can practice to try to speed up the rate at which your lungs heal. In general, some of the short-term inflammatory changes in the lungs can be reversed when you stop smoking, Edelman explains.
In other words, inflammation decreases on the surface of the lungs and airways, and lung cells produce less mucus, he said. New cilia can grow, which better clear mucus secretions, he added. The lungs have an almost magical ability to repair some of the damage caused by smoking, but only if you stop smoking, scientists say. Tobacco smoke slows down the normal movement of the tiny hairs (cilia) that expel mucus from the lungs.
When you stop smoking, the cilia become active again. As the cilia recover and the mucus is cleared from the lungs, you may cough more than usual. This may last for several weeks. If the cilia are paralysed, you are more at risk of developing lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.
Once a person's lungs are damaged to the point of emphysema, the walls of the airways lose their shape and elasticity, making it difficult to push all the air out of the lungs. Damage to the lungs and deterioration of lung function is directly related to the number of packets of cigarettes a person smokes per day multiplied by the number of years they have smoked, a measure known as pack-years, Edelman said. A week after quitting smoking, the lungs begin to repair cilia, or the hair-like projections that remove mucus and dirt from the lungs. As a result, lung tissue can become inflamed and scarred from smoking, so the lungs lose elasticity and can no longer exchange oxygen effectively.
No matter how long you have smoked, quitting smoking at any time can have positive effects on your lungs and your overall health. Smoking increases the risk of lung problems, such as emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. But this is a good thing; it means the cilia in the lungs are active again, and these fine hairs can now move excess mucus secretions from the lungs into the airways and down the throat, where they can be coughed up, Edelman said. Cigarette smoke can have wide-ranging effects on the body's health, and the lungs and airways are two of the areas most affected.
Dust, pollen, mould and pet dander are among the many irritants that contribute to poor breathing and lung health. This damage causes tar and other pollutants to build up in the lungs, which can lead to discolouration and blackening of lung tissue. Below we have compiled some images of smokers' lungs after quitting smoking, and the damage that cigarettes and tobacco products can cause to their lungs. After 30 years of smoking, the lungs are likely to be irreversibly damaged and the risk of all kinds of diseases increases dramatically, such as lung cancer, COPD and heart disease.
Lungs start to heal immediately after quitting smoking, so quitting smoking as soon as possible can improve overall health. Other effects, such as the risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease and lung disease, take years to drop to the levels of a non-smoker. The lung on the left is damaged by smoking, but after a few weeks without tobacco, the lungs begin to repair themselves.