Is it normal to start coughing when you stop smoking? Should we be worried about it? What is this mechanism? Answers with a tobacco specialist from Toulouse a few days before the start of Operation “Month Sans Tabac”.
When a smoker quits, they quickly hope to see a benefit to their health. Because there are many of them: better blood oxygenation, better breathing, gradual return of taste and smell, etc. But it happens that the cough still persists, why?
“It is indeed possible to cough again when you stop smoking, but it is not systematic. This is explained: smoking inhibits the cough reflex, because the cilia of the mucosa are abraded by burning tobacco. These cilia repel invaders when impurities are inhaled, but in smokers this barrier is altered .Smoking affects the cells of taste and smell, and after quitting smoking we find pleasure in breathing and eating again,” explains Dr. Rose-Marie Rouquet, a tobacco specialist at the University Hospital Center (CHU) in Toulouse.
“This cough after quitting smoking can last for several days, sometimes even longer. If it lasts too long, it is better to consult because this cough can have other origins. When a smoker decides to quit smoking, he is told that he can cough, but that is one of the good things”, adds the doctor.
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While the month of collective mobilization “Month without tobacco” will begin, Dr. Rose-Marie Rouquet recalls “that it is always easier to quit smoking accompanied by a health professional, so that the appropriate treatment can be used. You need an accurate assessment of the need for nicotine substitution, otherwise there is a risk.” Nicotine replacements in the form of patches for continuous diffusion supplemented by oral forms are a rare helper.”
Nicotine replacements are covered by the National Health Insurance when they are prescribed by a healthcare professional (doctors including occupational physicians, midwives, nurses, dentists, physiotherapists).