5 Steps to Control Coughing when Quitting Smoking

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

Dr. Howell

Coughing is a common side effect of quitting. But don’t take it negatively. Actually, it is a sign that your lungs are healing and clearing themselves. Once you quit, expect to experience mild to moderate coughing which may linger for over two months. If the coughing persists beyond this, it is advisable that you see your doctor.

Even though coughing while quitting smoking is normal, it can be irritating and frustrating to deal with. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to overcome this symptom. Here they are:

1.  Drink plenty of fluids.

Drinking plenty of fluids, like tea, lemonade and other natural juices can help soothe coughing by clearing your throat. Green tea, in particular, contains antioxidants and chemicals that speed up your lungs’ healing capacity. Add a teaspoon of honey in your warm tea to boost its healing effects.

2.   Resist the urge to smoke.


Going back to smoking will just delay the healing of your lungs and would make coughing worse. It would be helpful to learn about the strategies and techniques to resist smoking urges.

3.  Avoid contact with dust and other air pollutants.

These can cause inflammation in your lungs and constricting of your airways, making breathing difficult and coughing worse.

4. Consider using cough expectorant. If your coughing is severe and you produce too much mucus, consider using cough expectorant which is widely available in local pharmacies. It helps break up the phlegm and makes cough easier to handle.

5.  Use cough suppressant.

If your coughing is dry and persistent, a cough suppressant can offer immediate relief.

6.  Exercise.

Exercising is a great remedy for coughing because it strengthens your lungs and promote their healing. Start with mild to moderate forms of exercise and gradually increase your level of physical activity. You will experience a significant improvement in your coughing. Exercising is also a great strategy to fight cigarette cravings.

7.  See your doctor. If after two months of quitting smoking and the coughing is still there, make an appointment with your doctor. It could be a sign of a serious condition which needs immediate medical attention.


Once you have overcome the temporary side effects of quitting smoking, expect to experience its overwhelming benefits such as the increase in energy levels, lower risk of major illnesses, and improvement in your overall health.



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