Effects of not smoking

Hi, I am wondering if anyone can help me. I was given my diagnosis last week and I stopped smoking and have done for over a week now, the longest time in my life. Could anyone help me as to what symptoms my body may show with no nicotine or poisons in my body. I do not show any outward signs of cancer at present, but I am getting the awful urge to start coughing like mad.

Thank you in advance.


8 Replies

  • I'm not able to give much of an answer to your question but I hope this is of some use.

    First: congratulations for stopping smoking! I stopped 10 years ago (after 2 mini-strokes gave me a wake-up call), having been a 40-a-day smoker for about 40 years and I remember an increased need to cough. I gather this is because the respiratory tract starts repairing itself and getting rid of stuff that shouldn't be there. This can happen at different times and rates with different people but is very common.

    I don't remember any other immediate effects but, over time, my ability to exercise improved a lot. I put on weight around the 4-month point but reckoned (correctly) that losing weight wouldn't be a problem if I set my mind to eating less and was back to my normal weight 6 months after stopping.

    Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with lung cancer over 3 years ago and with COPD recently - it's a pity I didn't come to my senses sooner! However, when it comes to quitting smoking, it's definitely a case of "better late than never". I gather that stopping smoking, even after a lung cancer diagnosis, tends to improve your outcome - and I'm absolutely sure that, in my case, my quality of life is very much better than it would be if I still smoked. So, keep at it - you'll never regret it!

  • Hi,

    thank you so much for your reply. I have found it useful as it makes sense the respiratory tract starts repairing itself, but I am shattered through coughing. I'm so happy I have finally quit smoking, as you say better late than never. I only have to smell ciggie smoke now and if I don't get away, I throw up. You have inspired me greatly having cancer for over 3 years. The doctors I saw today were brill and said to me congratulations for stopping. I want to out live my mother, she is 90, but I'm her carer as well and I want her twilight years to be good. Stupid thing is I still feel fine except this flipping cough.


  • Thanks for getting back to me. Your lung cancer situation may be very different from mine but, if you want to ask me anything, please do so - I'd be happy to be of any help I can.

  • Dear Ian,

    First of all, congratulations in taking the first step to stopping smoking!

    Are you using a stop smoking aid to help you gradually reduce your nicotine intake, or are you going cold turkey?

    Fortunately the benefits are apparent quite quickly, which help to keep you motivated.

    You will start to see the benefits to your health quite quickly and this is always very encouraging. You will be less breathless on exercise and be able to exercise for longer without tiring so quickly.

    Your sense of taste and smell will improve quickly and you may find foods more or less enjoyable than before.

    You may cough more but don't worry about this, as your lungs are trying to clear themselves.

    The tiny hairs (cilia) from your nose and down the nasal passage will start to work properly as they are no longer stuck together with tar.

    Your skin will visibly improve within a matter of weeks and your tongue will be cleaner and more sensitive to hot and cold, and spicy foods.

    It is important to try and break the habits and rituals around smoking, like drinking coffee, or any other triggers that you associate with smoking.

    Please don't hesitate to take advantage of any the supportive networks that are around, they can be very helpful when you are struggling.

    Best wishes,

    Beth, on behalf of information and support.

  • Hello,

    Sorry for the delay in replying. As soon as I was told I have cancer I went home and threw every packet of ciggies/matches/lighters away in the bin. I've stopped drinking coffee by 95% and drink carbonated water (Hate still water). I have gone cold turkey, except the cold turkey hasn't happened as yet and its Two Weeks tomorrow. I'm breathing better except for this stupid cough, however that now seems to have settled down a little. Thank you so much for the info you have given me, I have found it so encouraging and useful

    Ian :)

  • Hi Ian,

    You sound like you are doing fabulously, well done.

    You are doing absolutely the best thing for your health.

    If you do find yourself craving at all, keep yourself busy, as it will pass quickly. I have heard that eating frozen grapes is a fantastic way of curbing the craving.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi Beth, frozen grapes actually sounds like a nice snack, I'm shopping today and will get some. My cough is starting to lessen and I can feel the nasties trying to come out. I could do with coughing up a gold watch though.

    Thanks for your support and kindness.


  • You are very welcome.

    All the best and keep in touch,


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