Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do your lungs ever get back to normal after you quit smoking?"
I want to quit smoking, but if my lungs are already damaged, what's the point? Will my lungs go back to normal ever if I quit smoking now (i'm 32)?
Congratulations on your desire to quit smoking. Tobacco use is by far the most common preventable cause of death. Quitting smoking is likely to be one of the most important things you do in your life. Smoking is harmful to more than just your lung tissues. There are 43 separate potential cancer-causing agents and 550 toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke that can ravage most parts of your body to destruction that contribute to your risks of developing deadly diseases, such as lung cancer, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and hypertension to name a few. That said, you wonder if your lungs will return to normal after you quit smoking. It's really hard to assess. It just depends on how long you've smoked and how extensive damage you have done to your lungs. Certain damage like emphysema is permanent and therefore irreversible. To go back to your pre-smoking body's health is not possible, but quitting smoking now has immediate and substantial effects on your body. Carbon monoxide levels return to normal shortly after smoking your last cigarette, and your body begins a series of regenerating changes. Gradually over months and years, the risks for developing smoking-related diseases will decrease as well. In short, after 10 years your risk of developing cancer is about the same as for non-smokers. It might be difficult to quit cold turkey. I suggest you to consider a smoking cessation program. It would recommend you to seek help from a primary care doctor. Good luck.
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