British Lung Foundation
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Reaction to stopping smoking - why am I more breathless ?

I was diagnosed with COPD in September 2012 and stopped smoking after 44 years in early November 2012! My COPD s moderate-severe and I have been through Pulmonary Rehabilitation and keep to my exercise regime. The only disappointing thing is I feel more out of breath now than when I smoked. Does this improve over time and if so any idea how long ? I am a young slim 58 who was quite active. By the way PR is blinking marvellous -a must for all COPD people . Any ideas?

8 Replies

You aren't the only one ! We happened to be talking about this the other day. It's on here and starts a few posts down.


Well done you on giving up the evil 'nic'! You are lucky to have PR where you are,there's nothing like that where I live so I have 'The Beast' to keep me exercised,I call him that because he's a Hedgehog murderer! I think the benefits of giving up cigs is life ( in a nutshell) I realy dont think I'd be here now if I hadn't stopped 9 years ago.I like your name,beatles,I've been a big fan all my life! Stay as fit as you can and add yoga to your exercise if possible because the breathing exercises realy can make a difference, all the best,Carol :)


Gave up smoking four years ago, have since been diagnosed with emphysema. I have three inhalers but was wondering if there was chest strenthening exercise's i could try.I do walk but live on a very steep hill and suffer from lack of motivation .New to this site and look forwaed to any replies


Welcome - if you google breathing exercises COPD, you'll find several....

also for clearing the gunk .. active breathing



Hi, I asked my sister who is a nurse why my husband was so much more breathless when he had given up smoking and she told me that the cigarettes do have chemicals that relax the airways - so once you have given up smoking then the airways have to cope without that relaxant and can have the effect of being more breathless. My husband cursed me for ages for making him give up!! TAD xx


Thanks TADAW I have heard similar things about cigarettes sealing he airwaves. Still I am glad gave up. Interesting that no

doctors ever enticing hs downside. Cannot blame them as consequences of smoking go way beyond COPD. Thanks for ALL replies - great blog site this!


My husband gave up smoking five years ago after he had been smoking for nearly 50 years. He was diagnosed with COPD three years ago. I agree that his health got worse after he stopped smoking but he had also recently retired.

He is on oxygen 24 hours a day which really helps him but makes life difficult as regarding going out. I have never smoked but years ago nobody realised the danger of smoking.

We just try to make the best of things we get attendance allowance which helps. But I would rather do without this and have a healthy husband. as our doctor is not at all helpful.

I am still trying to find out about any alternative therapy. I do not know anything about PR. Anyone know where I could find about this?



Jeanghost - your husband is a lucky man to have such a supportive wife. My wife is my rock also. With regard to Pulmonary Rehabilitation start of with your GP or phone his specialist, it seems to be a bit of a postcode lottery but I live in London and it is gaining momentum as it is so effective. I am lucky in that I do not need oxygen and can still get about but there were at least three people who needed oxygen on the course and everyone benefited. Good luck.


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