Q:

Why do my lungs hurt after I quit smoking?

A:

Quick Answer

The lungs hurt after quitting smoking because they are working to clear out the excess mucus and tar that has accumulated from the smoking habit, according to QuitSmokingSupport.com. This is a common symptom of withdrawal and likely lasts for a few weeks as the body goes through withdrawal stages.

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Full Answer

Because nicotine is a highly addictive substance, once an individual quits smoking, the body goes through a severe withdrawal process to get used to working without it. Nicotine is addicting because it is the chemical in cigarettes that causes the euphoric release smokers get from their habit, notes QuitSmokingSupport.com.

Everyday Health lists some common withdrawal symptoms including irritability, depression, fatigue or restlessness, tightness or pain in the chest, digestive distress and dizziness. These symptoms increase or decrease depending on the severity of the previous smoking habit. However, there are ways to make nicotine withdrawal less painful. The easiest way to quit smoking is through nicotine replacement therapy, most often in the form of lozenges and gum. These alternative nicotine sources do not have tar or the other harmful substances found in cigarettes.

As time passes, withdrawal symptoms lessen. Tightness or pain in the chest should begin to ease after a week or two.

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