Mucus after quitting smoking

Written by jennifer burger
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Mucus after quitting smoking
(Vivek Chugh/

People usually notice excess mucus, accompanied by a persistent cough, after quitting smoking. These symptoms are part of the physical withdrawal from cigarettes. It may seem counterintuitive to cough more after you quit, but it's normal and even beneficial.

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Time Frame

The excess mucus and coughing can last from a couple of weeks to many months. If you don't notice an improvement after one month, see a doctor to rule out other causes.


Expelling mucus from your lungs is part of your body's recovery process after quitting smoking. It's also a sign that healthy tissue, which helps push the mucus out, is regrowing in your respiratory system.


The mucus contains tar and toxins that are leaving your lungs. This process reduces the risks of infection and smoking-related diseases, and it helps you regain normal lung function.


Coughing hard means your body is trying to repair itself quickly, but you may experience related symptoms like a sore throat, runny nose, tight chest or dry mouth.


While you don't want to stop your body from healing, there are ways to minimise discomfort. Drink plenty of healthy fluids, and soothe a sore throat with lozenges or cold foods. Practice deep breathing for chest tightness.

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