Stopped Smoking.

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Theland1 | 16:41 Wed 04th Jun 2008 | Body & Soul
8 Answers
I'm 57 and stopped smoking three weeks ago after a lifetime of cigarettes.
Already, I can feel a better lung capacity, (I took up cycling recently, and can pedal up the hills easier than before).
I have to go for tests next week, spiro something or other, and blow into a machine. So what can I expect? I still cough occasionally and still taste smoke when I do.
Will I ever get a decent lung capacity back again, and how long would it take?
Any other tips / advice?


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You are very lucky! Many smokers have dreadful problems with coughing and a feeling of 'clogged lungs' that comes on when they stop smoking - this can take a good few months to stop.
It is because the lungs are finally able to clean some of the muck away, but it can be discouraging.

However, you will a much improved lung capacity, especially as you are doing aerobic activities such as cycling.

Some people get 'fully recovered' lungs as if they have never smoked within 5 years of stopping. Others get not such a good improvement, but an improvement nevertheless, because the damage to their lungs is permanent - emphysema is the worst condition.

Without knowing how many cigarettes you smoked a day, and the current state of your lungs it is impossible to be accurate - but as you are improving already I would say you have every chance of a fine pair of lungs indeed.

Well done.
Question Author
I'm feeling better for having read that. Cheers.
Well done Theland.

I gave up last year and feel so much better for it and my hair and clothes don't stink anymore. The only trouble is I've become one of those ex-smokers who can't stand the smell of other peoples smoke now. Lol
Well done mate ! Unfortunately the *brain memory* of the smell will probably be with you for the rest of your days but fortunately, these days that particular smell won't be prevalent whenever you go into a public place (pub etc). Don't forget to clean the house of the smell (carpets, curtains, furniture etc) and you will henceforth become a non-smoker with a much extended life expectancy. I am so chuffed for you, please keep up the good work !
Question Author
Thanks all - I'm often gagging for a cigarette, and as my wife still smokes, (although she has cut down dramatically), the temptation is always there, but I'm determined not to give in. Your supportive comments are very helpful.
well done theland, giving up smoking is a hard thing to do, but it'll be worth it!!!

spirometry is a way of measuring the air that you blow out. what you can expect is to breathe in fully, then blow into the mouthpiece as fast and as far as you can until your lungs are completely empty(nose plugs may be used to ensure no air escapes through the nostrils), the test will be repeated to ensure the readings are accurate. the spirometer measures the forced expiratory volume in one second, (FEV1, the amount of air you can blow out in one second), and forced vital capacity (FEC) which is the amount of air you blow out in one breath, the results of the spirometry will show whether someone has normal, obstructive, restricted or combined obstructive/restricted breathing patterns from which they can make a diagnosis if needed.

as ethel said, it will take time for your lungs to return to a more normal state, but it will be worth it. and your doing the right thing by getting more exercise by cycling, keep up the good work, and please have the will power to continue to not smoke. think of the benefits, not just in the wallet, but for the future generations of your family too!!

hope it all goes well for you, take care x
Question Author
Thank you. I am not looking forward to the blow in the machine thing. I had to do one a few years ago as part of a check up for my job, (I presume it's the same test) and later on I was in terriffic pain in my back and sides. Like I had been punched!
it may well be the same test, just dont overdo it!! only do what is comfortable. if you get time, try some breathing exercises, for example, breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4, hold for 4 and so on, its good for relaxation. but try it somewhere quiet, where you can get some peace. also, during a quiet moment, try to breathe slowly and steadily, in through the nose, out through the mouth, and try to empty your lungs fully. again, dont overdo it, just what is comfortable.

try not to worry about the test, the doctor/nurses will look after you and have your best interests at heart. remember that you may well be a little fitter this time, since you've quit smoking, and taken up cycling, you did mention you've noticed an improvement already!!

remember you have friends on here who can give moral support, even if its just allowing you to blow off steam. its better than you going back to smoking!! keep us updated! x

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