Although coughing is not a common symptom of quitting smoking, some ex-smokers do experience coughing for a short period of time in the early stages of smoking cessation.The cause is usually related to lung cilia.
Cigarette smoke paralyzes and damages cilia, which are thousands of tiny hair-like protrusions in our lungs. When you stop smoking, cilia will start working again.
The function of cilia in the lungs
Cilia are the protective barrier between the external world and the fragile tissues of the lungs. The bronchial tubes of healthy lungs are lined with a thin layer of mucus and cilia. The cilia move back and forth in unison, sweeping out of the body by inhaling pollutants trapped in the mucus layer.
Once the mucus reaches the throat, it can be coughed or spit out, or swallowed. This work done between the cilia and the mucus layer of the lungs can protect us from many respiratory infections and diseases.
How smoking affects cilia
Cigarette smoke is composed of thousands of chemical substances, which have a damaging effect on the lungs. It also leaves a sticky yellow coating called tar on everything it touches, including the smoker’s teeth, fingers, clothing, and furniture – as well as the inside of the lungs.
In the lungs, the accumulation of tar prevents the movement of cilia and causes inflammation of the airways, which leads to excessive mucus production. As the lung’s natural defense system is neutralized, toxic particles from cigarette smoke and other inhaled dust, dirt, and bacteria will stay in the lungs.Smokers face the risk of chest infections and respiratory diseases (such as chronic bronchitis and lung cancer).
Cough related to smoking cessation
When you stop smoking, the cilia gradually resume functioning, and the lungs begin to move up and out of trapped toxins.This may cause a cough, which may last until the first few months of smoking cessation, until the cilia have fully recovered.
If you are concerned about your cough, how long the cough lasts, or any other symptoms you experience while quitting smoking, please consult your doctor immediately for evaluation.
What can you do for your cough
Although you don’t necessarily want to reduce the quality of coughing because it helps to remove tobacco contaminants from the lungs, there are some steps you can take to soothe the throat and help the whole process:
- Stay hydrated by drinking water, juice, and tea. Tea containing licorice root is a particularly good choice, because licorice root is a natural expectorant and can also soothe the throat.
- Use a humidifier at home, especially if you live in a dry environment. It will help loosen mucus and allow effective coughing.
- One to three times a day, use a tablespoon of honey to relieve your sore throat. It covers and soothes the raw throat.
When to call the doctor
If you experience any of the following symptoms, please make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible, as there may be more serious things than cilia recovery:
- Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing after little or no effort, or feeling of difficulty breathing.
- Wheezing: Noisy breathing may be a sign of inflammation of the respiratory tract.
- Blood in sputum: Spots or bloodshot eyes in coughed up sputum may be a sign of infection.
Very good sentence
Nicotine withdrawal can cause many discomforts that can be serious. But they are temporary and indicate that your body is recovering from the damage caused by tobacco.
Read about what you can expect after recovering from nicotine addiction, and contact other ex-smokers for support, which will help you stay away from quitting. The effort is worthwhile, and the benefits are undeniable.