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Can anybody tell me if shortness of breath after stopping smoking is normal? I am 32 years old, male, smoked 8-9 cigarettes a day for about 15 years. I stopped smoking three weeks ago. I have never been short of breath in my life, however since I stopped smoking, I find myself out of breath, at strange times, even when sitting at rest. Is this just part of stopping smoking? It seems to be very difficult to find information on the side effects of stopping smoking! Thanks, Richard.

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I was a heavy smoker for many years, I quit smoking Feb 08, I am experiencing the same and can't work out if its withdrawal of if I am subconsciously forgetting to breath
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I have something like this but only when i'm about to fall asleep at night, it feels like i suddenly stop breathing and then a part of my body will jerk, waking me up.
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Okay assuming that you were not experiencing consistent breathing problems when you were still smoking and this has only started to happen on your quit then yeah this can be a symptom when quitting. The shortness of breath is in this case an illusion. Personally I've had it in varying severity each time I attempted a quit. I still recommend you see a doctor and get a chest x-ray and ask for a Spirometer test. There are many theories out there, these are and typically you may be experiencing one of them or a combination of all:

1) Your lungs are repairing themselves and the cilia (little hairs inside your lungs) are growing back also depending on how long you have quit the tar inside your lungs is beginning to break down and get cleaned out. This makes your chest feel itchy and stressed making it 'feel' like you are not breathing properly. You may actually wake up some mornings with a tobacco taste in your mouth, this is the tar moving.

2) Some smokers are in actual fact addicted to deep breathing aside from nicotine. Inhaling smoke is basically a form of deep breathing like yoga. When we quit we tend to not do deep breathing anymore like we were previously as a smoker. Your chest finds this change strange and the muscles in your chest spasm giving you a 'tight' feeling. You may find deep breathing exercises done each day will alleviate the symptoms.

3) Stress. Pure and simple if your anxious or stressed which is exacerbated by your quit then your chest muscles can get tense which makes you feel like you cant breath. You are going to need to try some relaxation techniques.

4) Some people can have underlying conditions which can flare up once your chest begins to repair. When I smoked I was mildly asthmatic and smoking actually suppressed it. When the tar and chemical sludge breaks down in your chest it can leave irritated and sore parts in your bronchial tubes that haven't felt clean air for years. So temporarily your chest may be irritated more than normal.


The symptoms come and go but usually should be gone in a few weeks. Though personally I found that they can come back occasionally, albeit briefly.
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I've been a smoker for 30 years and I've now been off the ciggies for a month. One would have thought how healthy I must feel, but quite the opposite, I've never felt so unhealthy in all my 45years!!! I rarely go to the Doctors (twice in the last 10years) but I haven't been away from him since giving up. My problem is shortness of breath when doing a little exercise......... even walking up stairs. I haven't even had the energy to go out socialising with friends. My Dr sent me for a chest Xray...which to be honest I thought the result wouldn't be good, but the results came back all clear. All my Doctor said was...... It will clear up in time.
Anyone else going through the same
Steve
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Steve,

You are not alone! I know quite a few smokers had same shortness of breath symptoms AFTER they quit smoking from th websites, I am having tight chest, dry mouth, mild shortness of breath on and off on top of few other withdrawal symptoms. I have been smoking free over 2 months after 32 years of it but those symptoms just won't go away easily. You will get better and easier as time goes, as doctor and other ex-smokers said so, hopefully! Keep it up, don't give in! Good luck!

Nicotine IS a serious narcotic!!

Scott
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I can relate to the shortness of breath and have been told that it is increased anxiety. Also, I have caught myself waking up over and over when I first lay down at night and fall to sleep. I have only been stopped for about a month and hope these symptoms disappear, but it is just good to know that I am not the only one suffering from this.

Does anyone know how long the little shortness of breaths actually last? Is it a few months or forever or just a few weeks?
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I quit for 6 months and still have SOB, let's hope it will really go away just like what every other "quitters" mention on internet forumssss.

I do find it getting better after trying so hard to cough up some really thick grey mucus. I think exercise does help a lot to bring up mucus, but i wonder if it will stay this way for the rest of my life, pfft.... it's only 6 months now.
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It has been almost 6 months since I stopped smoking and I was not short of breath until I stopped. I am now taking MUCINEX in hopes I can cough up some of this stuff accumulated from 50 years of smoking. My blood pressure is better than it has ever been, my cholesteral amazed my doctor, it was so good and I no longer have adult onset diabetes Now if I could only walk to the mailbox without becoming so short of breath. I was walking daily, now find it very difficult to walk a short distance. From my research I know a lot of mucus gets trapped in the lungs, and this mucus ends up blocking up small airways as it is being cleaned out which accounts for the shortness of breath. I am just ready to start coughing up some of this mucus. I did not cough a lot before I quit, and cough much less now. I was tempted to go back to smoking so I could feel better, but after 6 months know that would be dumb!! Besides the shortness of breath, does anyone else have a problem expectoranting (coughing up gook)?
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[]After smoking for 50 years, I quit 6 months ago. I am also having a problem with shortness of breath and not coughing up the gunk that has accumulated. Doing some research, I found this was not uncommon as mucus gets trapped in the lungs and ends up blocking small airways as it is being cleaned out. I can honestly say I feel worse than I did now than when I smoked, but am optimistic that day will come when I will feel better than I have in years! I started taking Mucinex as a recommendation from my Doctor. I was walking daily before I quit and now can barely make it to the mailbox. Are there others who are having trouble coughing, and is there anything other the Mucinex that will hasten the process? I even thought about going back to smoking so I can feel better, but after 6 months that would be dumb!

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This sounds like my story. 20+ years smoker aged 41. I had bronchitis and figured it was a good time to try the Chantix again. About a week into it the bronchitis cleared up but then I started having shortness of breath that wouldn't go away. My usual doctor was on vacation so I went to another who checked my x-ray and told me I had an early form of emphysema. This scared the hell out of me and I went for a second and third opinion and came out clear. Needless to say, I did not require the Chantix anymore.



I have since seen my regular doctor who told me it is normal and can clear up in a couple of weeks or take a year. But I will take this and ask for seconds over emphysema any day. And after going through this, there is no way I will screw it up by picking up smoking again.
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I have found a steamy hot shower and bending over and doing a deep loud "HUH!" sound from deep in your lungs will bring up lots of the thick mucus. Drink lots of water to keep it thin. I also found that hot spicy soups help to get to flow and open up the bronchial tubes. My favorite, Tom Ka Kai (Thai chicken coconut milk soup) served extra spicy, really brings me back to feeling normal for a while.



You may also want to ask your doctor about bronchial dilators and steroid inhalers. Also anti-anxiety meds might help if you are having difficulty sleeping. The shortness of breath and anxiety tends to work like a feedback loop. One aggravates the other and vice versa.



Its been two weeks for me. I am at least having some good days mixed in with the bad, but doing something about it even on a bad day seems to help take the edge off.
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Yeah. SOB here. I quit smoking for 3 years in my 20s and really don't recall this chronic tightness in my chest and urge to cough with SOB that seems to be horrible, moreso at night. Being an id**t, I started smoking again over 4 years ago, and now am trying to quit. This cough is making me nuts. I get nothing up. Then, when I feel like I can't breathe or hack so much that I nearly see stars, I freak and have a panic attack on top of it. I share in all of your misery and just hope that as days go by, this will get better. Sad but true, I take comfort in the fact that I'm not alone. It's scary, but we're not dyin, just sufferin. It's like trying to lose weight. You can gain 5 pounds in a week but take 5 months getting it off. Same with smoking. We smoke for years and then wonder why we cough for weeks. Hmmmm.....
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I finally quit the Ciggs about 2 weeks ago and after one week I started feeling Short of Breath. Almost like you cannot catch you breath sometimes - kinda feels like anxiety. I have no problem exercising or with stairs. Doctor said it was WITHDRAWLS!!! Chest sounds clear, X-Ray was clear about 4 months ago and Stress Test came out perfect.

Sounds like Shortness of Breath, Coughing, Anxiety and a general BLAH feeling is normal - Any idea when I will feel better again!
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Update: About a month after quitting and suffering from SOB, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I started having clear days where I seemed to breath easier. Those have increased where I seem to have only moments each day when I have SOB. My pulmonologist has me on Symbicort two puffs in the morning and two in the evening. I am also taking Lorazapam to handle the anxiety, but now only take it sometimes at night to help me sleep.

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the difficulty in breathing is probably panic. Having an anti-anxiety drug may help you get some perspective on how severe your problem really is.

I am also taking Mucinex and drinking tons of water. I have noticed a change for the better since starting that as well.

I have taken all the lung tests and it appears normal thank god. Hang in there it does get better.

Not sure if anyone else has this problem associated with it but I have a discomfort under my bottom right rib that I have had off and on for 5 years now. I suspect it was a twisted rib or muscle, but it seems alot worse now probably from all the coughing.
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