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#1 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

In particular the effect on stamina and your ability for exercise. I've been smoking a pack per day, in average, for the last six years or so. While I still feel fine, when I started walking up a little local mountain regularly it really starts to show, I've started doing this recently. I haven't paid particular attention to my fitness either, apart from your typical every day walking. Never thought I'd miss gym class. I'm not obese but I'm obviously not fit either. I'm around 1 meter 70-75 centimeters and I weigh around a 100 kilograms (I'm sorry too lazy to change it to feet/pounds) and I'm 19. Coupled with the occasional refreshing alcoholic beverage, well to be quite frank I'm actually kind of surprised that I'm able to go for as long as I can. The only healthy thing I've been doing is eating home cooked meals and changing soda for water.

So the question is are the effects of smoking reversible and to what extent? I'm not worried about how long I'll live or general health just stamina and being able to exercise for an hour or more without breathing like I had a panic attack. If I'm committed to it and do it every (other) day or so for at least an hour will I stop acting like an old fucking man?

Every answer and advice are very much appreciated. And yes I plan on quitting as soon as possible.

#3 Posted by Jimbo (10269 posts) -

It's possible to smoke and be fit, but obviously you'll find it a lot easier if you give up / cut down on your smoking.

You'll quite rapidly see improvement if you are going from zero exercise to climbing up that hill every other day. See how easy it is after doing it regularly for a couple of months compared to how hard it is now. You're only 19 and your body will still quickly adapt to and recover from all kinds of abuse. You really should stop smoking though - I know you're young and feel like you're invincible and don't give a shit, but before you know it you'll be 29 and wishing you'd stopped.

#4 Edited by Winternet (8258 posts) -

If you stop before your 40s, then after a couple of years it's like you never smoked in the first place. But, everyone reacts differently. Maybe you already have lung cancer. Or maybe you can continue to smoke a pack every day and you'll live until your 90s and die of old age.

Also, if you're 1.75m and you weigh around 100 kgs, you're definitely overweight and probably obese. I don't know what's the technical ratio to declare those things.

#5 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

@jimbo: I never even realized how I let myself go, doubt I'll ever truly understand why I did either. But it's good to hear I'm not fucked in that regard and that it'll get easier. Hopefully I'll be able to drop down to 2-3 cigars a day in a week before stopping completely.

@winternet: Well according to this chart I'm overweight which I most certainly am, but obese? Well maybe. To be frank my first concern is to raise my stamina, with the exercise that comes along with it I should be able to loose quite a bit of weight as well. Like I said previously I feel completely fine, no chest pains, no coughing but then again I guess If I did have cancer I wouldn't really know about it until I really started feeling shitty. Time will tell ey?

#6 Edited by Fattony12000 (7969 posts) -
#7 Edited by Winternet (8258 posts) -

@thedudeofgaming: Yes, time will. You're not. BLAW!!!

Just kidding. Good luck on cutting down on your smoking.

#8 Edited by Funkydupe (3458 posts) -

stop smoking.

#9 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -
#10 Posted by dudeglove (9462 posts) -

I think I heard a doctor say once that if you give up after smoking less than 5 a day, your lungs will be back to normal-ish in a year's time. Also, 175cm and 100kg? Lose some weight, dude.

#11 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

@dudeglove: Pffft the fuck do doctors know? With their fancy diplomas. And yup, working on it.

#12 Posted by Nictel (2662 posts) -

Yes the quicker you stop the quicker the effects go away. The longer you smoke the longer it takes and the more it becomes irreversible at one point.

#13 Posted by Intro (1248 posts) -

It can be, with how much you smoke there will probably be permanent damage, if not you're getting there. Quit asap and you'll be thanking yourself down the road. My mom smoked from 16 to about 40. She was at the point where she was sick everyday, always coughing and going to the doctor. Eventually our doctor told her either quit smoking or deal with bronchitis until you die because there's nothing he can do.

On Doug Benson's movie Super High Me, he smoked for about 20 years regularly (cannabis) and only lost 3% lung capacity iirc and a doctor told him it was reversible. But that's a whole different substance, I'm assuming tobacco will be more harmful on your lungs though. Seriously, just google "What's in cigarettes" and you'll see my point lol.

If you're quitting, best of luck. At the least cut back. It wasn't too hard for me. I replaced it with weight lifting. Try not to replace it with food, as obesity seems to be just as bad and sometimes worse than smoking.

#14 Edited by paulwade1984 (489 posts) -

I replaced cigarettes with chocolate. However My metabolism has kept my weight in check. permanently 66kg here.

When I quit i just said to myself. "Right, i'm a non smoker. I don't need to buy cigarettes". and i never did. I had no problems quitting at all. No cravings or adverse effects. However my self perception of myself/my avatar when i'm dreaming is me with a cigarette smoking away. So It never leaves unfortunately.

#15 Posted by ItBeStefYo (1096 posts) -

@thedudeofgaming: I do a course that involves radiation, the dose of radiation you get from smoking will permanently increase the chance of stochastic effects, e.g. cancer and stuff

Not sure about fitness, I would say that would get back to normal

#16 Edited by RenegadeSaint (1630 posts) -

By smoking any significant period in your life, you have elevated your risk for certain diseases, specifically vascular diseases such as aortic aneurysms. That being said, if you quit now, you can undo most of the damage you've done to your lungs and vasculature. Every year you go without smoking gets you closer to the risk of an average person who does not smoke, so quitting now and never smoking again is the best single health choice you can make.

As for stamina, as long as you have not developed irreversible COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), which is extremely unlikely given your relatively mild smoking history, you should have nothing disease-related limiting you. You are only limited by your overall exercise tolerance, which will improve dramatically if you keep exercising daily (ideally 30+minutes/day for 5 days/week).

Great job on switching from soda (or pop for us midwesterners) to water, it is one of the best ways to improve your diet. Your current BMI (175cm and 100kg) is 32.7 which puts you in the obese category (>30), so the aforementioned exercise is a great start to improving your overall health. I say this not to be critical, but simply to let you know where you stand, as most people are unaware of the high risks their weight places them at.

All that being said, you need to quit smoking. I know it's easier said than done, but it is not an option if you want to be healthy. It is slowly killing you.

#17 Posted by Max_Cherry (1216 posts) -

If you stop before your 60's it should be reversible. Stay healthy!

#18 Edited by Sackmanjones (5217 posts) -

<p>The smoke you breathe in paralyze the cilia within your lungs and basically within your throat and cannot be revived. These tend to keep other shit out of your lungs and by smoking you have greatly lowered your defense, increasing your change for disease. The effects aren't reversible but the sooner you stop, the better chance you have of it not hurting you</p>

#19 Edited by Fattony12000 (7969 posts) -
#20 Edited by Garfield518 (407 posts) -

Ignore everything that you ever see about BMI - it was created to look at averages of large demographics, not for an individual person.

Most of the people that visit my gym are obese/very obese according to the BMI, but you wouldn't dare say that to their faces.

#21 Edited by Forcen (2132 posts) -
#22 Edited by Osaladin (2628 posts) -

It's never too late.

#23 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

@osaladin: It is when you're six feet under.

@garfield518: I'm not fat, I'm cultivating mass bro!

@forcen: Awesome so I can finally get a new PC after a year without smoking.

Also thanks to everyone who posted, it was very helpful.

#24 Posted by AgnosticJesus (547 posts) -

Had the same issues with shortness of breath. I quit 1.5 months ago and all issues are gone. I'm breathing much better, no shortness of breath from physical exertion, plus taste and smell senses have improved greatly. Good luck quitting if you ever decide to. My advise is to to only attempt quitting when you are 100% committed and either use the patch or gum. Most insurances will cover them. Quitting is no fun and absolutely hard as hell but more than worth it.

#25 Edited by Nekroskop (2831 posts) -

I don't get people who smoke in 2013. Is it really that cool anymore?

Anyway. You should look into quitting, you're still young and probably haven't, I assume, smoked for more than a few years. Snus is actually a good way to stop smoking, then patches and finally nicotine chewing gum. You'll feel the health effects within a week of stopping smoking, and it only gets better from there.

#26 Edited by Icemael (6798 posts) -

Your health will improve if you quit (probably by quite a bit) but if you've smoked for six years permanent damage has been done. You'll have a higher risk for various diseases and a portion of your lung capacity will be gone forever. If you're serious about quitting and exercising you'll probably have no issue getting in shape though.

#27 Edited by Sanity (2062 posts) -

My mother smokes and shes at the point where she has to take daily breathing treatments, spends tons on meds, and cant walk up a staircase without getting winded. My dad also smokes, though its less apparent because hes active much more then my mom, still shows though as he dont breath right when he sleeps. If thats not persuasive enough i watched both my grandparents on my moms side die from emphysema. Your obviously no where near this stage yet, but its where your headed if you keep at it. I know its hard to quit, my parents have tried as well, but if you want to actually enjoy your later years please stop. Hope this helps.

#28 Posted by masternater27 (933 posts) -

Some effects will reverse as quickly as 24 hours, others can take over a year, but yes they're reversible. You're exponentially less likely to quit the longer you smoke as well as the older you are, so quit as soon as you can

#29 Posted by TyCobb (2004 posts) -

I don't get people who smoke in 2013. Is it really that cool anymore?

Anyway. You should look into quitting, you're still young and probably haven't, I assume, smoked for more than a few years. Snus is actually a good way to stop smoking, then patches and finally nicotine chewing gum. You'll feel the health effects within a week of stopping smoking, and it only gets better from there.

Could it be that some just like to smoke? I never smoked because it was "cool"; I smoke because I enjoy it.

And just throwing this out there, but why would you recommend Snus if you are telling him to quit smoking? That's not going to do anything other than make him even more addicted to nicotine and allow to him to get mouth cancer along with the possible lung cancer from his last 6 years of smoking.

#30 Edited by Nekroskop (2831 posts) -

@tycobb It will help him slowly get over smoking. Like I mentioned in my post, he should start with Snus, then patches and finally chewing gum.

Has worked for most people I know.

Smoking is more dangerous than snus. Look it up

#31 Edited by RandomHero666 (3184 posts) -

IMO.. do what you enjoy, be it smoking, drinking, whatever.

Smoking doesn't give you cancer, it just increases the chance of it forming, same as living in a built up city, eating certain foods etc

but yeah, pretty much everything about smoking is reversable

#32 Posted by iam3green (14368 posts) -

yes, eventually if you stop smoking your stamina will get back to somewhat normal.

#33 Edited by psylah (2273 posts) -

Think of all the extra money you'll have when you quit smoking, goddamn.

#34 Posted by zenmastah (1068 posts) -

Been smoking for 16 years now and i sure hope the effects are reversible.

#35 Posted by ShockD (2486 posts) -

@psylah said:

Think of all the extra money you'll have when you quit smoking, goddamn.

The only reason why I haven't started smoking yet.

Okay, getting addicted to it is also one...

#36 Posted by TobbRobb (5216 posts) -

As a non-smoker who has seen the effects of smoking in real time, and have been part of several attempts at stopping. All I can say is, I wish you luck.

#37 Edited by WilliamRLBaker (4941 posts) -

The effects of smoking as My doctor has told me multiple times to encourage me to quit are almost completely reversible and time is the tell the sooner you quit the better.

Note: dont listen about BMI specially if your american the american government up and one day decided BMI would be the only metric for health in this country in 1998 and since then we've heard the horror story studies about the obesity epidemic.
Simply put if your fat but get regular activity and exercise your healthier then a thin person that sits around all day and gets no exercise.

Note 2: Fathead documentary watch it it changed my life I lost 30 lbs in 2 months by cutting my carbs to less then a 100 a day...I miss sugar...

#38 Edited by PillClinton (3358 posts) -

Damn, I've never been able to wrap my head around a pack a day. Like, 20 cigarettes? Jeez, I think the most I've ever had in a single day was 7 and it made me feel ill. Glad I was able to stop completely before it got out of hand, though. But yeah, you should probably try to stop. Good luck, man. And just keep in mind, what's done is done; you can really only focus on the present and future. You may have some irreversible damage, but stopping now and getting in shape is exponentially better than continuing.

#39 Edited by MideonNViscera (2269 posts) -

I think what I always hear is that it takes years for your lungs to come back around, as as someone who's smoked and quit a few times, I can say you'll notice better breathing in just a few days. Not that your lungs will be pink in a few days, but you should breathe better. Especially when sleeping or in the mornings. That's just my experience though, not science.

#40 Edited by supamon (1339 posts) -

You need to lose weight, seriously. Imagine how much lighter and better you'll feel when you lose 30Kg. I have never met a person who has truly quit smoking successfully so good luck to you on that.

#41 Posted by Dagbiker (7022 posts) -

I am not a doctor, but the amount of oxygen your lungs absorb is based on the serfice area of them. So if you want to be able to walk up a flight of stairs, or a mountain with out being out of breath, or your legs giving out, then you want to increase the searfice area of your lungs.

Smoking basically covers your lungs in crap, more crap then normal, and reduces your lungs usable serfice area. I do imagin that your lungs can repair some of the damage, because people breath in crap every day, such as smoke from fire, and pollution, but I do not know how fast nor how much.

But if you can stop smoking, or at the very least reduce the amount you smoke, and increase your lung capacity then you will be able to walk up that mountain soon.

#42 Edited by JasonR86 (10031 posts) -


I tried to do a quick search on google to back up what I remember from college but I couldn't find any real answers. If I remember right there are both reversible and permanent effects from smoking. Some things will change immediately while others take longer (I think some changes take 10 years before they occur). I believe your lung functionality will improve steadily over several years after you stop smoking but the benefits won't be rapid. But eventually I think they will return to normal.

Nicotine activates the same chemicals that impact muscle function (acetylcholine). That's part of why the body relaxes as you smoke. I don't know for sure if extended smoking effects the functionality of the acetylcholine system or not. If it did, it might effect how readily acetylcholine is available for the body to use at any given time (likely decreasing its availability decreasing muscle functionality). But your body would likely bring that system back in order over time.

I think the permanent effects are things like an overall increased risk for cancer, heart disease, etc. But by and large the benefits of quitting are great enough that it would be worth it even if some issues will stay with you forever. Plus quitting successfully comes with a lot of brand new benefits psychologically that will act as strengths that you wouldn't have had had you not started and then stopped smoking. Quitting something that is so dug into you physically and mentally will show yourself and others how strong your are mentally and will better prepare you for whatever side effects might come from smoking in the first place. Quitting will improve your life in much more important ways then just the physical benefits. I know that sounds 'Disney-like' of me but I think it is the honest to God truth. It has been true for me over the course of my seven months of being clean from alcohol.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that the length of time you've been smoking corresponds to how reversible the effects are and how long it will take for the effects to reverse. So smoking for a month and quitting will lead to very few, if any, permanent effects. But smoking for 10-15-20 years etc. will have more permanent effects and the reversible effects will take longer to reverse.

#43 Posted by Meepasaurus (244 posts) -

In all seriousness, best of luck quitting.

#44 Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG (4313 posts) -

My dad quit smoking because my grandma died from it. Quit.

#45 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6115 posts) -

@jasonr86: You're doing it wrong, you're supposed to stop smoking, not drinking. Nah just kidding giving up any vice is a hard and rewarding thing to do. I'm fine with heart disease, cancer and the fact that I won't live as long as a non-smoker all I'm interested in is stamina. I've had six cigars today, when I finally quit I think I'm gonna get a tattoo, something along the lines of "Ironwill" and behind it a nice burning cigar. The only thing to do after that would be to learn how to drink coffee and alcohol without smoking.

@dagbiker: Yeah I decided to stop being a lazy fucker, both in terms of exercise and my (non) continuation of smoking. Along with that I decided to do some reading concerning endurance and years of smoking. The general consensus apparently being that unless you already fucked yourself over with cancer or irreversible damage, the body and lungs will heal themselves over a period of time. The time spanning from less than a year to a decade. Hopefully I'll be able to regain most of my lung capacity in two years with 5 days of exercise every week.

@supamon: Bro fuck all that skinny shit! You need mass, otherwise any motherfucker can knock you the fuck out... But I really do need to get into shape.

@mideonnviscera: Yeah dude, seems obvious to me (as it should to every smoker). I'm not looking for some magical way to get healthy a week after 6-7 years of smoking. After just about a week of exercise and cutting back to, as I previously mentioned, six cigars today, I'm well aware I have a long road ahead of me.

@pillclinton: Yeah you know how it is. You start out of curiosity or wanting to look cool and then you start increasing your daily usage and before you know it you're smoking a pack a day. Thanks for the well wishes.

@williamrlbaker: Well dude I'm definitely on the fat side, and since I have no clue how to tell the difference between overweight and obese I fall back to the BMI. And the exercise regime I've started, nothing extreme (2 hours up a mountain...with breaks obviously) will help me increase my stamina and loose weight. But I'm totally alright with my fatness, or at least would have been if it wasn't in the way of me getting winded.

@psylah: Yeah, the price of cigars went up recently here in Serbia. From a 100 dinars for a pack (around a euro) to 160 dinars. That's 4800 dinars a month, roughly 48 euros. Imagine all those games I could never afford! *huge grin*

yes, eventually if you stop smoking your stamina will get back to somewhat normal.

Don't like the look and sound of that somewhat, but a hard truth is better than a lie.

@tycobb said:

@ahaisthisourchance said:

I don't get people who smoke in 2013. Is it really that cool anymore?

Anyway. You should look into quitting, you're still young and probably haven't, I assume, smoked for more than a few years. Snus is actually a good way to stop smoking, then patches and finally nicotine chewing gum. You'll feel the health effects within a week of stopping smoking, and it only gets better from there.

Could it be that some just like to smoke? I never smoked because it was "cool"; I smoke because I enjoy it.

And just throwing this out there, but why would you recommend Snus if you are telling him to quit smoking? That's not going to do anything other than make him even more addicted to nicotine and allow to him to get mouth cancer along with the possible lung cancer from his last 6 years of smoking.

First off I have no fucking clue what snus is. Secondly, you start smoking, then you start drinking coffee and spirits. You can't have one (cigars) without the other (coffee and alcohol) and vice versa. You gradually increase both aaaaand then you're fucked. I'm not gonna lie, I still enjoy smoking especially the morning one and that first inhale of smoke.

As for the snus or whatever, does it effect my lungs? No. Awesome, increased lung capacity without quitting smoking. How is that not a win-win?

#46 Edited by big_jon (6181 posts) -

@thedudeofgaming: I think if you are nineteen and quit now, yes they probably are, I don't think the short time you have been unhealthy will have any bearing on your future health if you turn it around now, but 5'7" at 220 is particularly healthy either, I hate to say it but by medical/fitness chart standards that would be obese.

Exercise, a descent diet, and no more smoking will definitely get you where you want to be, good luck duder.

I have read up in the past that it takes like 6 months for your lungs to return to thier most normal state after a while of being a smoker, this may not be 100% of what the were, but it will be a lot better than when you were a smoker for sure.

#47 Edited by theguy (815 posts) -

I assume this is what you're looking for? Hope this helps.

#48 Edited by supamon (1339 posts) -

@thedudeofgaming: Last time I checked, being overweight doesn't make you any less immune to blows to the head. You go down just as easily. Screw the health benefits man, just imagine how good you'll look and how chicks will dig the new improved version of you and you won't have the stink of smoke clinging to you. It's all up and up for you once you start making changes. Motivate and push yourself!

#49 Edited by TrafalgarLaw (1715 posts) -

That chart is a little to optimistic at some points.

Smokers that quit retain the same relative risk on lung cancer through the rest of their lives. The risk on lung cancer is a steadily rising line on a graph, with the risk increasing with the amount of packyears you have smoked. If you quit at any point, your risk becomes level but never as low as non-smokers and never 0. In a way, you shoulder the negative effects of smoking for the rest of your life, even if you quit. That's why it's important to never start in the first place or quit as soon as possible.

While we harp on lung cancer, a much unknown one is BLADDER cancer when smoking. The mean survival of lung cancer is a mere 9 months with treatment only giving your 3 months of a longer lifespan. It's thát bad. Most of the direct effects of smoking are reversed pretty quick. The damage you accumulated through smoking will not go fully away.

Since you're 19 and haven't smoked a whole lot, I'd say you don't have too much to worry about if you quit now.

#50 Posted by dungbootle (2501 posts) -

Don't think about it and just quit. For reals