How much damage have I done to my lungs?

ogruskie

Professional
Hello everybody. Before I begin my story, I'd like to ask you to not judge and degrade me for what I've done. I know that what I've done was extremely stupid and irresponsible, and I've learned my lesson.

Last August I started smoking cigarettes. I was at a party, and a friend offered me a cigarette. Before then, I've been extremely healthy. In fact I had my checkup sometime during the summer, and the doctor said that my lungs were in excellent condition. I never smoked, exercised daily, had a drink or two once in a while. But during the party I was pretty wasted, and the curiosity got to me. I had the cigarette.

I hated it at first, but my curiosity grew. What was so special about smoking cigarettes? I had one more. Then a few more. Before I knew it, I was visiting my local liquor store buying a new pack.

I have to mention that I wasn't a chain smoker. I mean, I'd go through a pack over the course of two weeks. I can't really calculate how much I'd smoke a day but it wasn't that frequent.

I went cold turkey at the start of February. So it's been...about 6 months of smoking? The cravings were initially harsh but I put my focus elsewhere. Since February I've been exercising every single day, either lifting weights or running. My lungs were utterly weak at first but after a few weeks I started regaining my old fitness.

So how much damage have I done to myself? Is the time period that I've been smoking enough to develop any sort of lung cancer or other disease? I'm deathly afraid of going to my doctor for that checkup, but I realize that I have to do it. I just wanted to hear some thoughts.
 

Hidious

Professional
Most of the "damage" cause by smoking is reversible anyway... You're probably back to your healthy state like before already.
 

athiker

Hall of Fame
I'm about as anti-smoking as they come, but IMHO you've done as much damage from the stress of worrying about the damage you might've done than any damage you could have conceivably done smoking what...12 packs of cigarettes over 6 months?

A lot of long-term smokers smoke several packs per day. I'm not trying to be too lighthearted about it, its not good to put any smoke, tar, etc. in your lungs but your doctor will not be able to tell you even smoked one. You didn't do much more than the equivalent of living in a good sized city for a while and breathing in bus fumes! Rest easy and just don't start again.
 

jrod

Hall of Fame
...you've done as much damage from the stress of worrying about the damage you might've done than any damage you could have conceivably done smoking what...12 packs of cigarettes over 6 months?
...

Precisely correct. Just relax and cut the crap with the cigarettes. You'd be better off with a tennis addiction.
 

Fee

Legend
The air pollution in your city is probably worse than the smoking. Do you live in LA or Houston?

Seriously, don't worry about it. Well done on quitting. :)
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
It can take 10-20 years for a lung cancer to go from a single damaged cell to clinical symptoms, so that remains a small but finite possibility, even after relatively brief smoking. Other issues, such as emphysema, heart disease, loss of vision usually require longer exposure. Someone who smoked for any period of time should be sure to have routine medical exams over the course of his life.
 
Not really true about "major metro." For example life expectancy in NYC is about a year LONGER than the national average. Pollution from cars has been literally reduced about 99% since the 1970s when catalytic converters, fuel injection and other methods became universal on cars. Recent EPA data shows the nation's worst air quality to be in a relatively rural area, the central valley of California, with Bakersfield, Fresno, and Modesto having air far worse than NYC, for example. Smoking is vastly more dangerous than breathing in a city!
 

ogruskie

Professional
Thanks a lot for the support guys. I really do appreciate it. Hopefully I can set up a doctor's appointment soon just to make sure everything is fine.
 

Power Player

Bionic Poster
It's great that you quit. I will tell you that while people in here taking it lightly, I smoked when I was younger. I developed asthma and got sick a lot more often.

Its been 6 years since I have smoked, but I am far healthier (asthma gone)and better off. So don't take cigs lightly, because they are horrible for you.
 

Ultra2HolyGrail

Hall of Fame
I wonder if the op is pulling our chains. 12 packs of cigs and he's worrying about health damage? He's gotta realize many people who smoke puff a pack a day, some even more. 12 packs is nothing, not even two weeks of smoke to the average smoker. However the real damage the op 'might' have is kicking the habit for good, that's the real damage that might have occured, psycologically and drug mind altering induced addiction.
 

dropshot winner

Hall of Fame
It's definately a good choice not to smoke, but many forget that eating and drinking unhealthy stuff (Coke, fatty food) is just as bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if Coca Cola Inc. faces a pancreas cancer lawsuit in the future.
 
It's definately a good choice not to smoke, but many forget that eating and drinking unhealthy stuff (Coke, fatty food) is just as bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if Coca Cola Inc. faces a pancreas cancer lawsuit in the future.
Amen to that, by eating unhealthy stuff is killing you in slowly way.
 
maybe not all that bad yet but I suggest you quit as soon as possible
it is very unhealthy and could be a problem if you continue

also think about it is even more dangerous for the people around you when you smoke

smoking causes health problems and often kills people but is so much more deadly to the people around you , the second hand smoke.


My piano teacher smoked half his life and is in pretty good health and says it didn't hurt him but he can't sing without a horrible cough.


I wonder what that would do to an athlete.
I don't know but I would not want to find out.

If he can't sing without coughing just think what it would be running, cardio etc.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
It can take 10-20 years for a lung cancer to go from a single damaged cell to clinical symptoms, so that remains a small but finite possibility, even after relatively brief smoking.
Are you suggesting there is evidence that supports the notion that even one person in the world has developed lung cancer due to six months or less of smoking?

Hopefully I can set up a doctor's appointment soon just to make sure everything is fine.
Too late. According to Ollinger, what's done is done. Get back to us in 20 years and let us know if you made it.

also think about it is even more dangerous for the people around you when you smoke

smoking causes health problems and often kills people but is so much more deadly to the people around you , the second hand smoke.
This has got to be false. What's your source for this claim?
 

pmerk34

Legend
Hello everybody. Before I begin my story, I'd like to ask you to not judge and degrade me for what I've done. I know that what I've done was extremely stupid and irresponsible, and I've learned my lesson.

Last August I started smoking cigarettes. I was at a party, and a friend offered me a cigarette. Before then, I've been extremely healthy. In fact I had my checkup sometime during the summer, and the doctor said that my lungs were in excellent condition. I never smoked, exercised daily, had a drink or two once in a while. But during the party I was pretty wasted, and the curiosity got to me. I had the cigarette.

I hated it at first, but my curiosity grew. What was so special about smoking cigarettes? I had one more. Then a few more. Before I knew it, I was visiting my local liquor store buying a new pack.

I have to mention that I wasn't a chain smoker. I mean, I'd go through a pack over the course of two weeks. I can't really calculate how much I'd smoke a day but it wasn't that frequent.

I went cold turkey at the start of February. So it's been...about 6 months of smoking? The cravings were initially harsh but I put my focus elsewhere. Since February I've been exercising every single day, either lifting weights or running. My lungs were utterly weak at first but after a few weeks I started regaining my old fitness.

So how much damage have I done to myself? Is the time period that I've been smoking enough to develop any sort of lung cancer or other disease? I'm deathly afraid of going to my doctor for that checkup, but I realize that I have to do it. I just wanted to hear some thoughts.
Is this a joke?
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Heycal
Most definitely. There are actually 8 to 10 types of cancer that appear to be associated with cigarette smoking, ranging from lung to the unexpected such as colon, pancreatic, cervical, breast and others. If you read the studies in medical journals, you'll find correlations between risk and packyears (packs per day multiplied by years smoking). What you find is that relatively brief periods of smoking confer a risk greater than not smoking, though the risk increases with packyears. This makes sense. Cancer isn't like heart disease, where the blockage of an artery can gradually build up over a period of years, a slow and steady process. A cancer likely begins in a single moment, perhaps with a mutation of genetic material. One brief period of exposure to a toxin can do that. It's well known that a number of chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of other types of cancers even though the patient is only exposed to them for a few weeks. Longterm benzene exposure is dangerous but even brief exposure has been demonstrated to increase risk of lymphomas. So no, there's no clearly safe "dose" of cigarettes, though clearly the larger and longer the exposure, the worse.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
The drug was only shown to partially improve endobronchial dysplasia. There is no evidence at this juncture that it prevents lung cancers, many of which are notably not bronchial. There is no evidence whatsoever that it heals the more common smoking malady, emphysema.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
The drug was only shown to partially improve endobronchial dysplasia. There is no evidence at this juncture that it prevents lung cancers, many of which are notably not bronchial. There is no evidence whatsoever that it heals the more common smoking malady, emphysema.
It doesn't say anything about rate of catching colds, improvement of shortness of breath, etc. If your looking for a cure all let me know when you find it.

Now show me these links:
1).
There is no evidence at this juncture that it prevents lung cancers, many of which are notably not bronchial
2).
There is no evidence whatsoever that it heals the more common smoking malady, emphysema
I'll be around later to check.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
maybe not all that bad yet but I suggest you quit as soon as possible
it is very unhealthy and could be a problem if you continue

also think about it is even more dangerous for the people around you when you smoke

smoking causes health problems and often kills people but is so much more deadly to the people around you , the second hand smoke.


My piano teacher smoked half his life and is in pretty good health and says it didn't hurt him but he can't sing without a horrible cough.


I wonder what that would do to an athlete.
I don't know but I would not want to find out.

If he can't sing without coughing just think what it would be running, cardio etc.
I have heard this but it doesn't make sense to me, the smoker takes in the direct smoke in addition to the second hand smoke. The statement above implies that the direct smoke has a somewhat protective action from second hand smoke.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
Heycal
Most definitely. There are actually 8 to 10 types of cancer that appear to be associated with cigarette smoking, ranging from lung to the unexpected such as colon, pancreatic, cervical, breast and others. If you read the studies in medical journals, you'll find correlations between risk and packyears (packs per day multiplied by years smoking). What you find is that relatively brief periods of smoking confer a risk greater than not smoking, though the risk increases with packyears. This makes sense. Cancer isn't like heart disease, where the blockage of an artery can gradually build up over a period of years, a slow and steady process. A cancer likely begins in a single moment, perhaps with a mutation of genetic material. One brief period of exposure to a toxin can do that. It's well known that a number of chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of other types of cancers even though the patient is only exposed to them for a few weeks. Longterm benzene exposure is dangerous but even brief exposure has been demonstrated to increase risk of lymphomas. So no, there's no clearly safe "dose" of cigarettes, though clearly the larger and longer the exposure, the worse.
Well, I'm skeptical, but I'll certainly hang on to this bit of information to use with my teenage daughter. "Honey, even one cigarette might give you cancer!":)
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
A study:

Drinking green tea could reduce the risk of lung cancer from smoking, says a new study.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths in Taiwan,” said I-Hsin Lin, a student at Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan, who conducted the study.

“Tea, particularly green tea, has received a great deal of attention because tea polyphenols are strong antioxidants, and tea preparations have shown inhibitory activity against tumorigenesis (production of new tumour),” added Lin.

Lin and colleagues enrolled 170 patients with lung cancer and 340 healthy patients as controls.

They administered questionnaires to obtain demographic characteristics, cigarette smoking habits, green tea consumption, dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, cooking practices and family history of lung cancer.


Among smokers and non-smokers, those who did not drink green tea had a 5.16-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.


Among smokers, those who did not drink green tea at all had a 12.71-fold increased risk of lung cancer compared with those who drank at least one cup of green tea per day.


Lin and colleagues suspect genetics may play a role in this risk differential, says a release of the American Association for Cancer Research.

“Our study may represent a clue that in the case of lung cancer, smoking-induced carcinogenesis could be modulated by green tea consumption and the growth factor environment,” said Lin.

The study was presented at the AACR-IASLC Joint Conference on Molecular Origins of Lung Cancer, being held Jan 11-14.

Since drinking green tea has no downside to it, adding it to the diet is a good idea, especially if replacing soft drinks.
 

aphex

Banned
Hello everybody. Before I begin my story, I'd like to ask you to not judge and degrade me for what I've done. I know that what I've done was extremely stupid and irresponsible, and I've learned my lesson.

Last August I started smoking cigarettes. I was at a party, and a friend offered me a cigarette. Before then, I've been extremely healthy. In fact I had my checkup sometime during the summer, and the doctor said that my lungs were in excellent condition. I never smoked, exercised daily, had a drink or two once in a while. But during the party I was pretty wasted, and the curiosity got to me. I had the cigarette.

I hated it at first, but my curiosity grew. What was so special about smoking cigarettes? I had one more. Then a few more. Before I knew it, I was visiting my local liquor store buying a new pack.

I have to mention that I wasn't a chain smoker. I mean, I'd go through a pack over the course of two weeks. I can't really calculate how much I'd smoke a day but it wasn't that frequent.

I went cold turkey at the start of February. So it's been...about 6 months of smoking? The cravings were initially harsh but I put my focus elsewhere. Since February I've been exercising every single day, either lifting weights or running. My lungs were utterly weak at first but after a few weeks I started regaining my old fitness.

So how much damage have I done to myself? Is the time period that I've been smoking enough to develop any sort of lung cancer or other disease? I'm deathly afraid of going to my doctor for that checkup, but I realize that I have to do it. I just wanted to hear some thoughts.

you have approximately 6 months left.
 

aphex

Banned
Ha ha.. In all seriousness, the OP should realize he has at least 10 years before his lung cancer appears.
yeah, i was being facetious...

add at least 5 years after it appears (though he will mostly be in the hospital during that time),
so he has a good 15 years left.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
yeah, i was being facetious...

add at least 5 years after it appears (though he will mostly be in the hospital during that time),
so he has a good 15 years left.
Well, now you may be erring in the other direction... I thought lung cancer often progressed very quickly, so when he gets it 10 years from now, he will likely be dead before the 11th year comes.

Sorry, OP.:cry:
 

ProgressoR

Hall of Fame
smoking has many benefits.

If you want clear tables around you in a restaurant, especially to avoid noisy and distracting kids, light up.

You can meet lots of people that can benefit your life and career in smoking areas, that is a fact, and smokers tned to have a bond, so look out for career enhancing opportunities whenever having a ***

you can avoid boring people the same way, pop out for a *** when at dull gatherings, much easier than saying you are boring the hell out of me I have to get away from you

you can listen to self righteous blowhards go on about how you are exposing them to life threatening secondary smoke, any discussions with these kind of people can be much enhanced by constantly blowing smoke in their direction during the conversation.

you are generally a more interesting person if you smoke

balance it by playing sport and looking quite healthy, and listen non smokers who are fat ugly bald and smelly lecture to you about the effects of smoking on health. Again smoking during this conversation is encouraged.

and so on.
 

gopokes

Rookie
My dad smoked for a pack a day for 30 years. I think I have far more damage to my lungs from living with him for 18 years. I do not allow myself to worry about thses types of things. Absolutely stop worrying about it man! You have wisely recognized the perils of smoking, and that is a great move on your part. Do you exercise? Sleep well? Eat well? Are you happy? Do you suffer from stress? Are your parents/grandparents healthy? Do you have favorable genetics? Do you wear a seatbelt? The list goes on - The bottom line is that you, and I, and every person on this board, are going to die. Some of us will die from things that we have no business dying from. Some of us will die unexpectedly, and some of us will die from the same things that claimed our parents. We can't control a lot of this. Remove the unnecessary risks in your life as much as possible, but know that you have to die from something. Beyond that, go out and live your life - however short or long (may it be long!) it might be, to the absolute fullest.
GP
 

r2473

Talk Tennis Guru
smoking has many benefits.
I thought lung cancer often progressed very quickly,
Both correct. Smokers benefit society in some very key ways:

1) With the very high taxes paid on each pack of cigarettes, and the fact that smokers often die of diseases (like lung cancer) that progress fast so they don't linger around long, smokers more than pay for themselves. This is actually true. I have read the studies.

2) Because smokers die somewhat early, they tend to pay into social programs like medicare and social security, but are dead before they get a chance to collect.

Believe it or not (and most won't), smokers are a net financial plus for society as a whole.

next time you see a smoker, thank him for dying early and quickly. A true American patriot if there ever was one.
 

Chopin

Hall of Fame
Head and neck cancer is HORRIBLE. I've been through it with family members.

Anyone who smokes should make stopping a main priority. You have no idea what you might be getting into and its downright irresponsible towards your family members and loved ones (your cancer or sickness rarely just affects yourself). It’s heartbreaking to have to watch someone you love go through it.

Trust me, the cigarettes won't be worth it when you’re undergoing concurrent radiation and chemotherapy, or having a radical neck dissection, being pumped full of cisplatin, or losing your salivary glands or ability to talk, or to move your jaw, or when you start losing your teeth, or when your cancer spreads, or when you die.

I say this not to scare people, but unless you’ve really been involved in cancer treatment up close, you might not really understand how horrible it can be.

Best,
Chopin
 
Last edited:

raiden031

Legend
I think the OP should check into an emergency room immediately.

In all seriousness, I don't understand why the risks of smoking are so poorly communicated to people. Most young smokers think that its ok to smoke in their teens/20s because as long as they quit by say age 30, their lungs will heal and elliminate the risk of cancer and heart disease. Not many know that they could quit at age 25 and still get cancer 20 years down the road directly as a result of a few years of smoking regardless of how healthy they live. That is scary information, and I'm sure many would stop immediately if they knew thats how it woked. I smoked during my college years and had no idea.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
Most young smokers think that its ok to smoke in their teens/20s because as long as they quit by say age 30, their lungs will heal and elliminate the risk of cancer and heart disease. Not many know that they could quit at age 25 and still get cancer 20 years down the road directly as a result of a few years of smoking regardless of how healthy they live. .
But isn't this basically true for all intents and purposes? Do we know what percentage of people who quit by age 30 developed lung cancer or heart disease from smoking 20 years later? I'd be curious to hear some real numbers on this rather than just hearing that it's theoretically true. Winning the lottery and getting hit by lightining could both happen in theory as well...
 
Yes, and winning the lottery is more likely if you buy lottery tickets than if you don't. Getting cancer (at least 8 types) is more likely if you buy cigarettes than if you don't. Let's not leave out blindness (ocular vascular damage done by cigarettes, considered a prominent cause of blindness.) The cancer risk is largely in the next 10-20 years if you stop smoking.
 

heycal

Hall of Fame
Yes, and winning the lottery is more likely if you buy lottery tickets than if you don't. Getting cancer (at least 8 types) is more likely if you buy cigarettes than if you don't. Let's not leave out blindness (ocular vascular damage done by cigarettes, considered a prominent cause of blindness.) The cancer risk is largely in the next 10-20 years if you stop smoking.
All well and good. Now, are you able to answer my question, namely what percentage of youthful smokers who quit by age 30 actually suffer serious consequences later on?
 

PimpMyGame

Hall of Fame
No need to worry. As we all know, 100% of non-smokers will die at some point so a few packs of cigarettes over a six month period is the least of anyone's worries.
 
Top