Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Do your lungs ever go back to normal if you quit smoking?"

ZocdocAnswersDo your lungs ever go back to normal if you quit smoking?


My dad won?t quit smoking cause he said its been 20 yrs. and his lungs are already ruined. If he quits smoking now though, will his lungs heal? Can your lungs go back to normal after you stop smoking?


While it is true that your father has done some irreversible damage to his lung by smoking for such a long time, it is not true that stopping smoking now will not have any health benefits for him. First of all, the major risk of smoking is actually related to the risk of heart attacks and other heart diseases and not to the lungs at all! Stopping smoking will rapidly have beneficial effects on the blood pressure and on your father's over all risks of having a heart attack. Second, although all of the damage done to the lungs cannot be fixed, after several years of not smoking, some of the worst effects of smoking on the decline in lung function do let up. Furthermore, quitting smoking does decrease the overall risk of developing lung cancer. Therefore, there are many health benefits to quitting smoking, even after twenty years. Your father should absolutely set up a visit to talk with his primary care doctor. There are many resources that are available to people who want to quit smoking, including several prescription medications that can help increase the chances of being able to quit successfully.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.