Your Lungs After Quitting Smoking – This Is What You’ve Done To Yourself

It is unfortunate that before you took your first puff on a cigarette, someone didn’t sit you down and show you a catalogue of the damage you’d likely cause yourself by taking up that infernal habit (complete with goopy, color pictures).  Even a blind man could see, in the face of all the evidence, that smoking DOES damage your lungs while smoking and continues to damage your lungs after quitting smoking too. It also has a flow-on effect to your whole body causing harm to many systems. And it does this to a greater extent, and faster, the more you smoke and the longer you keep smoking.  The following is a list of the major damage that you could have done to your body by smoking. You have to accept that you did this, take responsibility for it, and then apply yourself to the task of making it as right as you can. You can’t continue to avoid it, or you’ll just keep making it worse.

As you read through this section, remind yourself:

1. Why you quit or are looking to quit

2. What you have to look forward to if you do go back (damn good motivation to stay clean)

3. Why you are working hard to improve your health!

Please note: Some of the following conditions may not have developed during your smoking ‘career.’  Others, well they are unavoidable, at least to some extent, after your first month of smoking.  If you want to know how you have been effected by your time smoking, please consult your local, qualified medical practitioner.

Damage Done Over Years of Smoking

Tobacco smoke has over 4000 chemicals in it.  These include Ammonia (used in toilet cleaner), Acetone (nail polish remover), Nicotine (insecticide at high doses), Carbon monoxide (a poison found in car exhaust fumes), Arsenic (used in rat poison), Hydrogen cyanide (gas chamber poison), Benzene (petrol additive).

This toxic chemical amalgam that enters the lungs in the form of tobacco smoke is collectively called ‘tar’ when it coats surfaces, like  fingers, teeth and air sacks of the lungs. The tar in tobacco cigarettes is a major cause of lung cancer, emphysema and bronchitis. The toxins from the tar can damage lung cells that keep tumors from forming. Cigarette tar also damages cilia in the lungs, the small, hair-like structures which protect the lining of the lungs. In addition to the discoloring of teeth, tar can cause periodontitis, a gum disease that can result in the loss of teeth.

Lung cancer: your chances of getting lung cancer depend on your genetic susceptibility, the length of time you were a smoker and how much you smoked over that time.  This is referred to as pack-years (the average number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years you’ve smoked).  The greater the pack-years, the greater the risk. When you’re getting up around 50 pack-years and beyond, that’s a lot. If people have a lot of pack-years, the risk of, say, lung cancer never goes back down to the risk of a non-smoker.

Emphysema: a disease caused by the destruction of the alveoli (small, sack like structures at the lower periphery of the lungs) and associated capillaries (tiny blood vessels), where gas exchange takes place (oxygen is taken into the body, and carbon dioxide (a waste product) is released).  Undamaged, adult, human lungs have an internal surface area around 753 sq. ft (70 m2), which is roughly one half of the standard-sized tennis court surface!  The capillaries that surround the alveoli (the other side of the gas exchange equation) run to a length of about 620 miles (nearly 1000 km)!  As gas exchange is all about surface area, you can imagine that this give a healthy person a considerable rate of gas exchange.  This is far more than is needed ‘at rest,’ but as a person’s exertions increase, so does their need for gas exchange. As emphysema progresses, this maximal volume/min of gas exchange decreases, effecting your ability to exert yourself.  So the tiny little air sacs become bigger ones — and they’re less efficient in transporting oxygen. The lung can’t grow new walls for these air sacs. The lung loses tiny blood vessels and can’t grow new ones. So that’s permanent. Anyone who has smoked for more than a few months has at least some level of emphysema.

(Chronic) Bronchitis: a disease caused by inflammation (swelling) of the lining of the bronchial tubes (the larger ‘pipes’ leading down to the alveoli, where gas exchange occurs). Long-term bronchitis, termed ‘chronic,’ is an inflammation and swelling of the lining of the airways that lead to their narrowing and obstruction.  This inflammation stimulates production of mucus (sputum), which can cause further obstruction of the airways. Some of this inflammation can be reversed. But if the inflammation has led to scarring of the walls of the airway, some of that cannot.  Again it depends on how long you’ve been smoking, and how many you smoked each day.  Also, obstruction of the airways, especially with mucus, increases the likelihood of bacterial infections in your lungs after quitting smoking or during your smoking days.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): a collective term for disease effecting the lungs due to smoking (but can also be caused by other factors, such as long-term exposure to high levels of air pollutants and occupational causes), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD): the narrowing and hardening of the arteries resulting in decreased blood flow in parts of the body other than the heart or brain.  This is caused by some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke that are absorbed into the blood stream and transported around the body when you smoke.  These chemicals make the walls of the blood vessels sticky, which allows cholesterol and other dangerous fatty material to build up on the inner walls of the arteries and clogging them.  Combined with the artery walls hardening (becoming less elastic), this all results normal blood flow becoming more difficult, making the heart work harder (which can lead to heart failure, amongst other things).  This reduced blood flow is most critical in the capillaries, which already have very small internal diameters, so you can imagine it doesn’t take a lot to block them completely.  Lack of blood flow to an area can cause that area to die, and gangrene is the result.

Increased Risk of Many Cancers: Besides lung cancer, smoking had been linked to the increased chance of many types of cancer, including breast cancer, throat cancer, some types of colon cancer, cancer of the tongue, cheek or lips, stomach cancer, urinary bladder cancer, and many more.

Many other minor and peripheral health problems such as: Alzheimer’s Disease, Lupus, Impotence, Blindness, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acid Reflux, Snoring, Depressed Immune System, hair loss, increased face wrinkles, premature aging, halitosis, stained teeth, stomach ulcers, insomnia and more.

Okay, that’s enough of the doom and gloom. If you have quit smoking or are looking to stop smoking for all the above mentioned reasons, and now let’s work on making you healthier and happier. If you haven’t already, jump over to our main page and check out the great deal available on our flagship product, The Complete Lung Detoxification Guide.  With this program, you’ll not only get the best advice available for clearing your lungs after quitting smoking of all that toxic tar, but if you haven’t quit yet, or are having trouble quitting, we’ve got that covered too.  Also, you’ll find out of lot about ‘why’ you’ve smoked, which will help you understand and follow our tried and tested methods for staying quit, and living a healthier, smoking-free life.

Until next time,

stay well, stay quit, and lung-toxin free.

~William Renolds

12 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Electric Cigarette on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    You really give out a ton of great information here. This is enough to make anyone wanting to quit to finally go ahead and make the commitment to see in through. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Posted by Don Adams on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    I Donald Adams have I hve to hard on myself by being honest and meaning what I am doing for me ! So must live it 24-7 as of the feeling of over come the habit to smoke when should have
    sat down with coffe and asked myself what can I do or who to ask and admit I nee advise .
    It may hurt the human but in the long run the joy of some is willing to if only we ask !

  3. Posted by ash on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Wow i’ve just quit smoking and after reading this information I WILL NEVER SMOKE AGAIN. great information… scary stuff

  4. Posted by admin on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Hi Ash,

    Good for you! Once you look into the real damage being done not just while you smoke – but the continual damage it is doing even after you quit … it is amazing to even consider smoking anymore right?

  5. Posted by Vaper on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Information: Good.
    Tone: Preachy.

  6. Posted by Liz on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Yes, I agree, a bit preachy. I quit 3 weeks ago and reading this makes me feel like, “well! Since I’m 37, I’ve already ruined my lungs, why quit?”
    Positive reinforcement is better! :)

  7. Posted by Josh on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    It’s been almost two years for me. I started smoking when I was 15 and averaged a pack a day for about 8 or 9 years. I still have cigarette cravings. This is an addiction that will never go away. I can tell my lungs are severely damaged, I assume that since I started at such a young age that my lungs were still in some what of a developmental phase. I can feel that there is something that just isn’t right in there and I often cough up mucus. My grandfather was a smoker for over 50 years and he fell victim to lung cancer about 6 mos into his retirement and about 3 mos after quitting cold turkey. Edwin Jones worked his entire life in hopes to retire and travel the states with his beautiful wife. All of these dreams were quickly erased, all of their savings went to the treatment of the disease, which was far more painful than just letting go. I slowly watched as my Grandfather deteriorated due to the disease and the treatment for it. A man that spent his days working 8 hour shifts only to come home and put 2-3 more hours into working around the farm and doing lawn work. By the end of his treatment my Grandfather could only manage to do two things. Cleaning the dishes and vacuuming for my Grandmother while she went to church and prayed for him. (Normally these chores required 2-3 breaks a piece) before finishing the task, but it was simply all he could do.

    So now my Grandmother sits, and waits to die. The love of her life, the man that provided for her and her children was taken just so suddenly. I rarely see moments of joy in her daily life, even when something happens that makes her smile, she immediately becomes upset because her husband isn’t here to share this moment of levity with her.

    So now I wonder, have I sentenced my Fiance, my daughter, and my unborn son to a life without a husband, a father?? Could anyone in their right mind give up any of this for a cigarette?? How much does smoking really mean to you? More than seeing your children grow up, or taking your Grandchildren on a camping trip some day.

    What does smoking really mean to you?? Really?

  8. Posted by ? on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Great comments.. Let’s just make everyone that wants to quit smoking realize there is no hope anyways. You are probably right anyway seeing as my uncle just bled out and died from ling cancer this morning. Regards. Soon to be dead king cancer patient

  9. Posted by Phoebe on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    I am never gonna smoke. It really does do super bad things to you lungs. I feel bad for anyone out there who’s addicted to smoking. Go to my website kind kidz rule.com and you’ll soon see a post about smoking. :(

  10. Posted by Chloe on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Hey everyone, I want you to know, I just quit smoking…. I thought I was going to be a smoker for the rest of my life, and I QUIT. There is great info here, but most smokers know the risks they are taking, and sadly, fear doesn’t seem to help MANY smokers quit. I’m telling you, YOU NEED TO READ ” THE EASY WAY TO QUIT SMOKING “BY ALLEN CARR. You can even smoke while your quitting, find it at your local book store. If you don’t think you can quit, then you’re not loosing anything by reading this book…. This book helped my quit, and enjoy the process. I wish you Success, Luck has nothing to do with it.

    Cheers!

  11. Posted by Ann on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    I quit almost nine years ago after 30 years of smoking. This may
    Be great for someone thinking of starting however it makes me think I should just start again. I’ve already signed my death warrant. Good information but I was looking for how I’ve helped myself by quitting. I guess I didn’t. =(

  12. Posted by admin on 07.04.10 at 4:01 am

    Hi Ann,

    This was not the point of the post. This is suppose to be a wakeup call to make sure people are VERY aware of how much damage cigarettes can do.
    This does NOT mean that without doing an immediate lung cleanse your lungs remain very bad.
    The lungs cleanse themself over time but the process is slow and the longer you take to cleanse your lungs the more chance of illness.
    After 9 years your lungs would have recovered quite a bit. Quitting is HALF of the battle … its is an immediate cessation of all that poison you are putting into yourself and that is a very. very good thing.
    Could you still have better lungs? After 30 years of smoking yes most likely … but your lung health and overall health is much, much better now than it was when you were smoking.
    So do not go back to smoking, you are on a path to recovery right now – what we advocate is a lung cleanse to speed that process up by a massive margin is all!

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