Can My Lungs Clean Themselves After I Stop Smoking?

I quit smoking about 3-4 weeks ago, and I keep coughing up brown/black stuff. Will this eventually stop? Will my lungs clean themselves back to a better condition after a while?

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9 Responses to “Can My Lungs Clean Themselves After I Stop Smoking?”

  1. Massage Pillows Says:

    Eventually, but it takes a LONG time for lungs to completely recover from smoking.

  2. the crusader Says:

    That’s actually what your lungs are doing. Nicotine is a drug that paralyzes the microfilaments (very fine hairs) that are responsible for moving mucous and other debree out of the lungs. Because these hairs are paralyzed by Nicotine, smokers have to forcible cough things out. Hence, the smokers cough. Now that you have regained the use of these microfilaments, they are doing their job by removing all the tar and other wastes that have built up in your lungs while you have smoked. Your lungs will be cleaned out and you won’t see this anymore after awhile.

  3. Doofus Says:

    Congratulations on quitting. In this case, quitters do win. Yes much of the crap will eventually come out but some of the damage will be permanent. Emphysema is permanent as is the possibility of a cancer having been started. As you know, don’t start is the best advice followed by quit now. If you are quitting, DON’T start again! It is really sad to see someone who has quit take it up again. There is nothing to gain and much to loose.

  4. mrsunshi Says:


  5. Bronze Garden Statues Says:

    The coughing, after you quit smoking, is typical. Yes, your lungs will clean up (takes time). Just hope that you haven’t developed Emphysema. Don’t start smoking again.
    Congratulations. It is definitely very difficult to stop smoking !!
    I wish you well.
    Oh, and drink lots & lots of water.

  6. tsoto_so Says:

    Yes, your lungs can “clean up”. Just stick with your smoking cessation program and don’t give up! You are doing something great for yourself! Good job! Eventually the coughing of phlegm will stop.

  7. Buffalo Gal Says:

    Oh Lord … You need to ask a doctor. I’ve never heard of that before. I had a friend who had a lung operation when she was 21 and the Doc said her lung was green and slimey! YUK! I hope you get a professional opinion.

  8. LittleMo Says:

    Okay, don’t laugh, but I saw the anwer to your question on Oprah. There was a lung specialist on there talking about that very question. He said it takes approximately 10 years for your lungs to return to their pre-smoking condition.

  9. gofertop Says:

    This is totally natural. Your sputum should return to a clear color eventually; you just have a lot of junk in your system right now. Reminder: your lungs will never recover 100% back to the way they were before you started smoking

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