Does emphysema progress even if you quit smoking?

Yes. The rate of progression varies by individual, but the process of destruction does slow down with smoking. In some back to levels that would be present if the patient never smoked, in others just at a slower rate. At present, the biological mechanism that leads to emphysema eludes us.
Yes. Unfortunately, we are all slowly losing lung function over time (see diagram) so even if a person with emphysema quits their disease will still progress - however, the rate of decline is vastly different between patients with emphasema that quit smoking and those that continue to smoke (it is never too late to quit!).

Related Questions

My father was recently diagnosed with the early stages of emphysema, if he quit smoking would it progress?

Possibly. Quitting smoking can definitely slow down the progression of emphysema. If your father continues to smoke, his emphysema will definitely worsen. Read more...
Just quit. If your father quits smoking, the emphysema won't get worse. But, i can't guarantee that his lung function won't continue to decline. Still, quitting is the only way your father can prevent further lung damage. And with lung damage, once it's gone, it's gone. Read more...

I have COPD and early Emphysema, I just quit smoking and was wondering will my breathing get better over time?

It won't get worse. Good job! You should be proud as you have accomplished a great step! With the right therapies it will not get worse. When you quit smoking you preserve the lungs that are still viable and working. you need to be on inhalers and measure your oxygen level on exertion. . Read more...

Quit smoking dec. 2012. Had a few cigs in between. Total pack years is 23. What are my risks of lung cancer in my 40's? 50's? 60's? Currently have wheezing, 3yrs ago pulm. Told me have early emphysema.

20 years to normal. Cancer risk returns to normal only 20 years after stopping smoking. Congratulations on having stopped. Cancer or no cancer, being able to breath is something we often don't fully appreciate until it is lost. Read more...
Congratulations! Smoking cessation is the best decision you have made for your long term good health. Most effects of smoking reverse after stopping it. You will still have some slightly higher risk for lung cancer but i would not worry about it as >95% of folks in your situattion will not face this problem in your older years provided you never go back to smoking again. Read more...

Hello doctor, I quit smoking for 5 months and I do not have any breathing issues but I want to know how does it feels to breath with emphysema? Thanks

Shortness of breath. I have not experienced it personally, but it has been described to me as feeling constantly short of breath, trying to breathe with an elephant on your chest, unable to catch your breath, or unable to fully exhale. Read more...