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A 21-year-old member asked:

can my lungs heal themselves if i stop smoking?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Kevin Considine
Family Medicine 30 years experience
Yes: Yes, it is possible for your lungs to heal to a certain extent provided one stops eary enough before severe permanent damage/scarring or disease has set in. By definition, one has COPD if one has smoked a pack daily of cigarettes for 20 years or more. Statistically, if one stops early enough one's risk of getting lung cancer decreases to non smoker levels if one quits for 5 years or more!
Dr. Henry Bloom
Family Medicine 48 years experience
Yes: For most people, after around 7 years as a nonsmoker, the lungs do heal.

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A 23-year-old male asked:

Someone told me, if I stop smoking now after 5 years my lungs will be completely healthy like someone's lungs who have never smoked. Any opinions?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Randy Baker
Holistic Medicine 40 years experience
Unless lungs scarred: Long-time smokers who have developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease have irreversible lung damage that will never fully heal, but not smoking will prevent progression. Someone young like you likely has no permanent damage & your lungs should fully heal, but not sure re: 5 yrs. See www.Time.Com/time/health/article/0, 8599, 1819144, 00.Html & http://whyquit.Com/whyquit/a_benefits_time_table.Html.
A 39-year-old member asked:

Are your lungs permantly damaged even if you stop smoking after smoking for a decade?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Alan Wartenberg
A Verified Doctor answered
A US doctor answered Learn more
Not necessarily: It depends on what kind of damage was present before you stopped smoking, and this varies highly between smokers, based on how much they smoke, how deeply they inhale, and genetic and environmental factors as well. The lungs can completely heal after smoking cessation, although the dark pigment will not go away. If damage has been done, some healing can also occur, but isn't usually 100%.

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Last updated Aug 15, 2019
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