Shortness of breathe: Hi, I haven't had... - British Lung Foun...

British Lung Foundation

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Shortness of breathe


Hi, I haven't had a cigarette for 9 months now. I quit smoking after 30 odd years with Champix. I'm 60. Almost immediately, I experienced really bad SOB. After seeing the doctor and having various tests was told this could be COPD. They put me on some puffers and then a morning only spray but the condition just worsened and the meds did nothing to improve the situation. Now the doctor has taken me off the meds and I am going for a CT scan next month as they don't think is it's COPD.

Recently though, someone was telling me that because I never had any coughing or bringing up any mucus that there must still be a lot of tar in my lungs that needs to come up. And this could be causing the SOB. Also, that when smoking we breathe deeply when we inhale and that since this deep breathing stops when we stop smoking I should be doing deep breathing exercises. Does this ring any bells with anyone? The SOB is so bad now that I get out of breathe walking downstairs, taking a shower or just getting dressed.

Any info would be appreciated as this is really stressing me out


9 Replies

I’m exactly the same as you with the shortness of breath. I have spent many hours researching different things hoping to find an answer. I stopped smoking seven years ago and expected to start feeling better but it wasn’t the case. I have lost loads of weight not that I had much weight to begin with it’s difficult to know what to do with breathing exercises seems to be conflicting advice. If there is anyone out there who can help let us know

blondebookworm in reply to maas

Thanks Mass, it's comforting to know others have had this too. Sorry about your weight lose. I just keep gaining since quitting :(

Coughing and being short of breath is fairly normal after stopping smoking, I coughed, puffed and panted far more after stopping than I ever did when I smoked. For me, that lasted for four months but I believe others have taken longer to get beyond that point. I started going to the gym and generally taking more exercise shortly after quitting the cigs because I'd started to put weight on - exercise made the coughing and breathlessness worse but it helped to get rid of 'some' mucus, there was never very much but exercise managed to move what there was. The breathlessness improved gradually though it was disheartening to begin with as I'd imagined I'd feel much better after a couple of weeks with no ciggies. Breathing exercises might help but if you ask your doctor to refer you for PR classes that would be so much better, you might have to go on a waiting list but they're worth waiting for. Good luck.

Hi Magpuss, that's very helpful thank you. Because of the SOB I stopped exercising, could be that's where I went wrong.

I seemed to start with lots of different things when I first stopped smoking but settled down after about 3 months.


That's helpful, thanks Roey123

Try singing with a choir or group that teaches how to breathe from the diaphragm. It's great fun, and it will get all the stuff at the bottom of your lungs moving up so that you can cough it out. If you check the BLF website, you may find there's a BLF listed singing group near you. All the best.

Thanks Ergendl

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