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Difficulty breathing after quitting smoking

I quit smoking cold turkey just over 3 weeks ago and last week I started having some difficulty in breathing. When I try to take a deep breath it feels like my lungs just won't expand that last little bit. I went to the doctor and have had a chest X-ray which came back normal. I am going for a pulmonary function test on Friday but am a nervous wreck. I have read of other "quitters" have the same difficulty in breathing, but found no responses. Is this a normal reaction of the lungs and if it is, how long does it last?
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First Helper smober
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replied September 10th, 2008
Extremely eHealthy
hey, am no expert or anything but i am a smoker who is giving up using champix, it is normal when you are giving up for your lungs to be under pressure because your body is working overtime to clear your lungs of chemicals caused by nicotine, every 10 minutes your lungs are getting clearer (so i have read) and with you breathing in and out it is making it harder, so your chest seems tighter and you cant take a deep breath without feeling uncomfortable, this should clear up in time ( about a week) if you continue to not smoke. If it doesn't i would seek more medical advice hope i have helped you out Jenny
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replied September 10th, 2008
I have been cigarette free for 8 months after using Chantix. I have not breathed better in my life. You will get your air back and more. Just stick with it.
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replied September 19th, 2008
Have you by any chance gained weight due to quitting? If so, you may not be used to the weight gain. Just watch what you eat. and like others suggested, be patient, and don't pick it back up!

Best of Luck!
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replied January 25th, 2012
Experienced User
thanks for the post...helped me a lot !
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replied September 29th, 2008
Advanced Support Team
undrtktres, how's it going? still having those chest pains?

i rememember last time i quit, i had the same thing for a few months... it was like my lungs were "unglueing" themselves apart. lovely...

Smile

anyway, after that lovely story, i started smoking again... after going to a few smoke fillde clubs in eastern europe... so, i'm sick now with the flu and going thru day one of not smoking. my plan is to ride it out while i'm sick - i've foudn that it's much easier to get over the hump this way in the past. hope it works again Smile
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replied July 18th, 2010
smoking lungs
I quit smoking six months ago. But my chest feels tight and if I push out whith my chest before i exhale i can actually see smoke come out of my mouth. Anyone ever heard of that?
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replied January 8th, 2012
ive been stopped 9 month and the tightness and breathing comes and gose ive had xrays ive had test and ive had a copd teat and thats ok while im talking my voice gets hourse and my breathing gets hard..no one can say what wrong.. so it might be the ter in our lungs that need removing by our bodys.. i dont know but i need answers.. anyone offering..
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replied January 10th, 2012
I have been quit for 2 1/2 months and am having coughs till I gag. Sometimes hard to breathe in air, like lungs starving for air. I can get on my knees and elbows with butt in air and breathing is no trouble. Does anyone know how long this will last. My wife quit about 2 weeks after I did and she is not having any and I mean not any kind of cough or hard breathing. Hahaha but she is gaining weight fast. I don't mean to laugh. Please anyone tell me what to expect.
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replied February 8th, 2012
This may sound like a dumb question, but did you smoke menthol or non-menthol??
I was a menthol smoker for over 20 yrs. I got really sick in July and was having a hard time breathing, so I finally quit smoking. After 3 weeks of being smoke free, I was having a really hard time breathing and ended up in the hospital for 4 days being pumped with 16 rounds of steroids, 8 rounds of antibiotics, and breathing treatments every 4 hours.
The Dr said my lungs had taken a beathing from smoking so long and so much. The problems I was experiencing was my lungs trying to rid themselves of all the 'junk' and trying to heal.
It was very discouraging, I finally quit smoking and my breathing was worse than when I did smoke!!
Just be strong, you will get through this!!
Good luck to you and your wife.
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replied February 9th, 2012
Hi smober,

You mentioned Menthol cigarettes but then didn't expand further...What did the Doctor say that the role of Menthol cigarettes was in relation to your problem ?
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replied February 9th, 2012
Menthol is harder on your lungs. My mother smoked non-menthol 25 yrs longer than I smoked menthol and her breathing isn't as bad as mine was. Not sure how true it is, but I always heard that smoking menthol was like crystalizing your lungs. I never asked the Dr how true that is, but he did tell me that menthol is harder on you.
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Users who thank smober for this post: vecuccio 

replied February 29th, 2012
tiffani
Wow...."I can get on my knees and elbows with butt in air and breathing is no trouble."

I just finished doing that...helps with my breathing. I don't feel so strange now.

I feel like I have no space inside to breathe, if that makes since. But if I stretch my body, particularly my rib area, it's better.
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replied February 13th, 2013
I too am having the same problems - quit about 3 weeks ago and now feels like I cant quite get enough air in when I breathe - not every breath - maybe every 15/20, just feels like I have to put a lot of effort in to get enough air?
So, all I'm wondering is what were peoples outcome of this? Is it a trip to Dr's or will it just past?? I know the last post on this thread was a year ago but it would be handy to know if you're still around?!?
If you haven't guessed I'm a bit worried about it!
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replied February 20th, 2013
A none smug none smoker....
exsmokerforthreeweeks....

I quit on Oct 15th 2012 and now, 20-2-13, I'm checking out sites to see why I'm still feeling a little down, slight sore throat, can't get full breath, tight chest in the morning etc. It seems, from what I have read, that this is normal (even though in my case it is 4 months) and that we shouldn't worry about it. Obviously, there is a concern of what it could be, and a concern that should I go to the doctors, they send me for a scan and then there is a shadow, life over! Why did we put ourselves in this position I sometimes ask myself.

So, in answer to your question, I think only you know whether a trip to the doctors is the right thing to do. I thought the same only yesterday but will see how it goes over the next week. Think my lungs are finally clearing out all the phlem, chest remains tight in the mornings but clears by 10am.

walking a mile a day seems to be really helping with getting my pulse pumping a little.

By the way, I am 36 and have smoked since I was 14... properly smoking at 16/17 (10 a day) moving up to 20 a day by 20/21 and by 30, around 25 a day! What a fool I was!

Anyway, let me know how it has gone.... I'm interested to hear...

Jim
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replied December 21st, 2013
I feel for all of us with COPD. And wish a long, happy & healther future for us all.
I quit smoking cigarettes again 15 days ago & am still having a hard time breathing when moving around.
I don''t understand this, because a few months ago when I quit I felt great. If anyone has an idea as to why, I sure would like a response. I have asked my lung doctor and they think maybe due to my allergies could be the reason.
I am using the vapor cigs, they work great for the nic cravings.
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replied March 7th, 2014
I can relate. This is my fourth quit in 18 months and this is the longest ever for me, about 6 weeks. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, I will feel short of breath. Not the deep gasping type like is common the first 2 weeks, but just the general sense that I am not getting enough oxygen, so I deliberately breathe a little deeper, though slowly.

Also, big hugs for everyone trying to quit. Honest, you can do it. It's all about controlling the mindset with me and indulging other cravings. Plus I dont get too down on myself when I relapse, try to avoid anger (a trigger for me) and jealously guard the first 24 hours, then the week etc. I don't feel comfortable saying I have 'quit' because I recognize that I will always like the taste and the nicotine can indeed be stronger than me if I accept temptation or get too proud of my will. I will always be a smoker trying not to smoke, and thats good enough for me.
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