You Quit Smoking: Will Your Lungs Heal?


    By Kennedy Shelley

    Here is some new motivation to help you keep your New Year’s resolution to stop smoking…you will effectively get new lungs.

    There are over 60 carcinogenic ingredients found in cigarette smoke.  There is a very strong link that shows smokers have much higher rates of lung cancer than non-smokers.

    But in a recent study released in the prestigious journal Nature, we can now see how the lungs almost magically heal themselves when you stop smoking.

    The study showed that cells not damaged by smoking start to grow and mutate to heal the bronchial tubes much more quickly than anyone ever knew.

    The quicker you stop smoking, the more undamaged cells there are, and they go to work quickly repairing the damaged cells.

    For years the conventional wisdom was that the damage from smoking was permanent and irreversible, but this new research shows that the body is a remarkable healing machine when you let it.

    This is great news even for people who smoked a pack a day for 40 years.

    The myriad poisons in cigarette smoke slowly damage the DNA in the lung cells, creating the mutations that lead to lung cancer.

    The study also showed just how much damage smoking does to the lungs.  As these toxins hit the lungs, tens of thousands of genetic mutations start to take place.

    One of the researchers was quoted as saying:

    “These can be thought of as mini time bombs, waiting for the next hit that causes them to progress to cancer,” said Dr Kate Gowers, one of the researchers at UCL.”

    But a small proportion of cells remain unharmed.  And these are the key to lung healing.

    When you quit, 40% of your cells in your lungs look like you never smoked.  This 40% goes to work to take over the damaged cells.


    “We were totally unprepared for the finding,” Dr Peter Campbell, from the Sanger Institute, told BBC News.

    He added: “There is a population of cells that, kind of, magically replenish the lining of the airways.

    “One of the remarkable things was patients who had quit, even after 40 years of smoking, had regeneration of cells that were totally unscathed by the exposure to tobacco.”

    Nearly 3/4 of lung cancers are found in smokers, some of whom thought they were doomed because they smoked and there was no benefit to quitting, but this study shows quite the opposite, there is a great reason to quit and quit now.

    Lung cancer is a horrible way to die.  The last days are spent gasping for breath and the entire body is often wracked with pain.

    But this latest report in the January 29th issue of Nature shows there is hope to avoid it if you quit smoking now and let the body heal itself.

    Researchers are still trying to access all the positive changes that come from quitting smoking, but we know that just because you smoked and we used to think the changes were permanent, the newest research says that isn’t so, and you can heal even if you smoked for years.