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British Lung Foundation
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I quit smoking for ever 4 months ago, feel worst than ever in my live, need help

Hi to All:

I quit smoking 4 months ago, after 20 years of a daily pack, I´m 56. Suddenly I started to feel SOB and chest tightness so I intermediately stopped inhaling, I felt something was pretty bad, form that day I reduced smoking by 60%, made large holes near the butt and din´t inhale at all, the I bought a vape, reduced the amount of nicotine gradually, at this moment I´m completely free I have no any desire at all for a cigarette, instead if I have any cravings I use my vape and even is nicotine free I don´t inhale at all. As I have these SOB and chest issues I went to a doctor, she ordered, chest x ray, ECG, echocardiogram, arterial gases, spirometry and oxygen saturation. Only finding was in the xray, subsegmental atelectasis, and peribronchial thickening predominantly on the left lung, said was not of worry. Because I was feeling really bad, doctor ordered a cardiac stress test which I was able to reach 100%, meaning no problems, however I was ordered a echocardiogram transesophageal, which was normal also. I have barely cough once a year, remember having flue once every five years or so, always mild, no sputum never. I bike an hour per day even climbing no problems at all, I even feel a lot better. The problem is I´m feeling worst, having headaches, dizzies, pain in my left lung, tiredness, and so depressed, I´m thinking I will day within months, I strongly suspect I have COPD, sometimes got SOB, and some kind of flares up that last for hours or even days, and I finish up destroyed

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15 Replies

hi Ricky, l am so pleased for you that you have stopped smoking, l stopped six years ago. As for your medical situation l can only suggest that you go back to your GP and have a good chat. You could also get help with your depression too, its common when you have a long term illness. I wish you well and please let us know how you get on. Gilly


It's still quite early days in your quitting journey. I was the same as you, I felt awful, I couldn't breathe, I was depressed and was having panic attacks. I couldn't sleep and My heartbeat was irregular, I felt worse than I did when I smoked! I was constantly at the doctors because of new symptoms! When we smoke we breathe in a completely different way than we should, so when we quit we start to miss the way we breathed, along with all the other things we got used to doing! Have a look at some breathing exercises, try some relaxation techniques, go for gentle walks or if you can go swimming have a sauna or relax in the jacuzzi. I smoked for over 30 years and I have quit for 4 years in October. You will start to feel better soon, it just creeps up on you and one day you just realise how much better you do feel. Well done 👍


Thanks a lot for your post, just wondering, did you get any COPD from smoking or any related issues?

I was diagnosed with copd and this is what made me quit smoking. My breathing got a lot worse after quitting, I was admitted to hospital with a serious chest infection. When I was home from hospital I could barely walk two steps without having to stop to get my breath! Nearly 4 years later my breathing has improved, my heartbeat is normal and my general health has improved greatly. I haven't had any chest infections since quitting, hardly any coughs and just the odd cold. It's that old saying of feeling worse before you get better and I think it is so true for people who are quitting smoking x

Hi, Ricky I was diagnosed with COPD in 2010 and I Still Smoked until two and a half years ago and I had a chemical accident and it burn up my lungs I had COPD emphysema and Asthma before the accident but I have been smoke-free for 7 months now I'm on oxygen but I feel better I try to go to pulmonary rehab maintenance classes and it makes you feel better but I still have to try to get on the list for lung transplant don't know when that will be I have to go to a different part of the states or different state cuz I'm in the United States but good luck to you you should start to feel better soon best of luck to you

Betsy Rose

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Be calm, you will get better

Well done.

It was my big regret with my smoking consultant lady that she did not explain (for obvious reasons) just exactly how awful I would feel for the first six months as my body adjusted to the change.

Anyway, it was well worth it - make no mistake. You're now on the home straight and it will get easier day by day.

Good luck.


Can you tell us a little more about your own experience in smoking cessation? I strongly believe is very important, it is almost impossible finding information about this issue, which of course doesn´t make any sense at all to me, looks clearly about hiding information for obscure purposes

Hello Ricky, sorry to hear you don't feel so good, well done for quitting smoking. Sometimes giving up makes you feel worse at first, but also it can be a sign of illness that was put down to smoking in the past. So you need to keep seeing your doctor for support until you begin to feel better. It took quite some time for my doctor to realise it was not cigarette withdrawal, so be persistant if you are not feeling better in any way.Best Wishes

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Can you tell us a little more about your own experience in smoking cessation? you got several post which make it difficult to find about this. It is not clear to me if you were diagnosed with COPD or not, and also if you smoked

Hi Ricky, I tried smoking ceasation on three occassions. I am now 11years a none smoker. I gave up the last time in 2006 and was diagnosed Asthma/ COPD in 2009 following a shadow on the lung investigation for possible cancer. I was further confirmed as having COPD by a professor at Glenfeild Lung unit in 2011. The method I finally used to quit was the NHS quit programme with several options and support. I choose the patch as cold turkey had been unsucessful and reducing gradually did not work. I quit for health reasons as I also have a thickened heart muscle due to high blood pressure for many years. The two previous occassions I gave up stress returned me to the ciggys. My first attempt lasted 18 months without ciggys.I was never a heavy smoker only 15/20 a day but it has done the same damage, of course I also worked in a smoking environment adding to my chances of COPD. The only down side to giving up is my massive weight gain. I was a smoker for around forty years. It proves you can help yourself by giving up even if there is no cure. I now have to take three inhalers a day but have a reasonable life. I expereinced much disgust about self inflicted illness, while those on drugs or alcohol have special treatment programs. I would remind people that nobody is perfect we all make mistakes and in my younger days it was not realised the damage some of these social habits caused even passive smoking. Hope this helps you understand my quit attemptsand how you can succeed with will power . Speak again soon.

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I think you told somewhere you were misdiagnosed, that you have no COPD. I read here several post about misdiagnosed COPD, I strongly believe COPD diagnosis in some cases would be quite hard if not impossible

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Hi Ricky sorry for delay have been away for a few days break. You are correct I was misdiagnosed I was lead to beleive I had lung cancer and visited the lung cancer specialist for a two year observation period and had all lung cancer tests performed but eventually was diagnosed with COPD/ Asthma. Sorry you seem to have misunderstood my previous reply above. I have letters to confirm my diagnosis and receive inhalers appropriate to my diagnosis, of course I am not obliged to tell you any of this on an open post. I also have copies of my medical results. You asked for details of my personal experience which I have told you above. I have airway flow limitation which occurs in Asthma and COPD. but these facts are of no relevance to you only the fact that COPD can often be mistaken for something else if not investigated properly.

Hi Ricky,

I started smoking as a pre-teen (nicking the odd Woodbine from Mum's pack or Senior Service from Dad's), progressed to No10 and No6 (hope you're remembering all these names!)by the age of 20 I was on 20 - 25 a day. By 30 it was 40 a day and that carried on until aged 58 40 a day was a "light day" ... then I got fed up and stopped ... overnight! Friday I was a 40+ a day and Saturday I was an ex-smoker!

That was 11th/12th November 2011.

December I had the worst cold ever - GP gave me antibiotics and steroids to clear it.

December I started having sleeping issues - 2 hours a night at best

January sleeping improved but a suffered severe night sweats - replacing pillows weekly!

January/February saw massive skull-splitting headaches, stomach cramps, still night sweats and weekly visits to the GP.

I knew I was dying!

March, after a battery of tests they stuck the tube in my mouth and said blow - "you have COPD" they said!

Five months after stopping smoking I found out what the fags had been hiding! No I wasn't dying, I just needed to change a few things (exercise, food & mental attitude) and life would go on okay.

Six years on and I'm still an ex-smoker, recent spirometry says I'm no worse than 2012, still working and, financially, a lot better off!

Only now to I know that smoking is a mug's game (and I was a mug!), I have no desire to ever restart ... and four years after I stopped so did my wife - so the "temptation" was there for a long time after I stopped!

Hope my experience helps answer your question

Feeling bad does not mean you have COPD but it's worth going to the GP and asking the question - the test is a simple spirometry test and gives a good indication on the stop!

Take care, keep smoke free and, if you're concerned, visit the GP


Thanks really appreciate your thoughts, helped me a lot

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