Mucus clogs up your airways, which contributes to smokers cough. Smoke of any kind is irritating to your lungs. Even if you’re one of the people who isn’t coughing more after quitting, these suggestions can be useful for you, too. But that doesn’t mean you need to be uncomfortable. You may find you need to clear your throat more often. They’re more likely to get colds and respiratory infections, like bronchitis and flu. © Copyright TEXT CBQ METHOD™. It’s the tar in cigarettes that’s the main cause of lung cancer. In fact, you may cough more than you did when you were smoking. For most people, the coughing lasts only a month or two after quitting smoking. Tobacco smoke slows the normal movement of the tiny hairs (cilia) that move mucus out of your lungs. When they’re destroyed, it becomes hard to get enough oxygen. That’s why smokers cough. Benefits of quitting smoking over time. It’s most likely to develop in people who’ve smoked heavily for many years. If they’re damaged or reduced in number, they’re not able to remove as much tar so it can penetrate deeper into your lungs, and do more damage. Not all smokers have a chronic cough, though. Honey. They’re also lung irritants. Smokefree.gov. The cilia start growing back within a period of 3 months; nevertheless, it might take as much as 9 to 10 months for your lungs to recover. There’s a substance called mucus that’s formed by the cells lining the respiratory passages. The result is shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. I do hope after this you will be reassured that in time the phlegm will clear and you can continue singing unhindered. That’s because it helps to loosen mucus lodged in your air passages. How to Manage Your Emotions Without Smoking, 3 Mental Health Benefits of Quitting Smoking, Ask An Ex – Episode 7: How Elinor Quit Smoking after 55 Years & How Her Faith in God Helped Her Succeed, 25 Disturbing Chemicals in Cigarettes – And Where Else They Are Found, mucus that’s formed by the cells lining the respiratory passages, your immune system becomes less effective when you smoke, things you can do to soothe your sore throat. If it turns out that you do have COPD, starting treatment early can help limit the damage to your lungs. The phlegm. A humidifier can be a good idea. Taking a couple of teaspoons of honey at bedtime and increasing the humidity in the air with a humidifier or vaporizer — particularly in cold weather — might also help. You can also try taking a spoonful of honey once or twice a day. Coughing it up is helpful, not harmful. FREE book offer – Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Coughing after quitting smoking - Whats the deal. The cilia help to remove tar from your lungs. She is a Smoking Cessation Practitioner Certified by NSCST, graduate member of the British Psychological Society and member of the Red Cross. © 1998-2020 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). If you have a high fever, swollen glands in your neck, or a lot of green or yellow phlegm, you might have an infection. Don't read no further if you don't wanna be grossed out. This isn’t something to worry about. Cilia act like a broom, sweeping irritants out of the airways. Whether you cough or not, your cilia will regrow and regain their function if you stay away from smoking. Call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Yes, it's normal. In response, the cells that make mucus grow larger and increase in number. Rigotti NA. Then exhale slowly. Cough. When you stop smoking, the cilia become active again. If coughing lasts longer than a few months, or if you’re concerned about it, visit your doctor for an examination. Mayo Clinic offers appointments in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at Mayo Clinic Health System locations. Accessed Dec. 3, 2018. Recovery usually starts within 4 to 6 days of quitting, and it can continue for months. This cough can develop while smoking or after quitting smoking. Although it's not common, some people seem to cough more than usual soon after stopping smoking. It’s also a good way of relaxing and easing stress. Benefits and risks of smoking cessation. You’re trying to clear the mucus from your lungs, so it isn’t helpful to eat foods that increase mucus production. Chemical exposure to the tobacco ingredients irritates and inflames the lungs. But when you stop smoking, the cilia can begin working again – and they do! Breathing in secondhand smoke will irritate your lungs, and it can make it harder for you to keep from smoking yourself. It’s a slippery fluid that has some important functions. Check out these best-sellers and special offers on books and newsletters from Mayo Clinic. They all help to promote good health.