How long does it take to get clean lungs after quitting smoking?

Clean lungs provide health benefits and an increased quality of life – But how do you get clean lungs after quitting smoking?

It is a common perception that lungs cannot be repaired after smoking. Although your lungs may not be 100% clean again as they were before you started smoking, they will become healthier and healthier with time.

What is certain is that you will notice marked improvement.

Unfortunately, there are no magic medicines that can clean the lungs. But in this article you will get some techniques and methods that will help you a lot.

Difference after 12 hours

Natural cleansing methods for the lungs

  • Spise anti-inflammatory with
  • Avoid pollution
  • Daily dyope breathing exercises
  • Regular exercise

Already 12 hours after your last cigarette, carbon monoxide is reduced to normal. The better the lungs absorb oxygen, the better the conditions for the cells to perform their functions.

1-9 months for the lungs to become significantly fresher and cleaner

You will notice an improvement in your breathing after 2 to 12 weeks. It depends a lot on how quickly the cilia in the lungs take to recover.

The cilia have the task of cleaning and transporting out impurities and pollution.

If the cilia are damaged by tar, it usually takes 6-9 months before the cilia begin to do their job again

Natural cleansing methods for the lungs

  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid pollutants
  • Do deep breathing exercises

Foods you should reduce if you are going to clean your lungs after quitting smoking

The foods listed here produce mucus. Mucus in the lungs makes it harder to clear them after quitting.

Dairy products

This includes cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt, kefir and all milk

Processed food.

Avoid meats that have been modified to extend shelf life or improve flavor, such as bacon, ham, salami, hot dogs, sausages, canned meat, etc.

Fast food is highly processed and should be avoided.

Processed vegan/vegetarian foods and meal replacements (vegetarian meat and cheese substitutes) are also massive mucus producers.

Foods that are recommended to clean the lungs after quitting smoking


Contains a compound called bromelain, which helps reduce inflammation. Bromelain can also help you increase the elasticity of your lungs so that you can take in more oxygen by breathing more deeply.


Some anecdotal evidence suggests that taking a teaspoon of honey daily can provide many health benefits, including clearing pollutants from the lungs.

Citrus fruits and berries

Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit, kumquats, blueberries, blackberries, etc.

Leafy greens and herbs

Brussels sprouts, celery, asparagus, bamboo shoots, cauliflower, broccoli, thyme, rosemary, oregano, etc.


Including carrots, white radishes, horseradish, etc. have many health benefits, especially for relieving lung discomfort after quitting smoking. They eliminate excess mucus, relieve sore throats, clear sinuses and reduce airway obstruction.

Drinks that can help the cleansing process of the lungs after quitting smoking

These are some drinks that can help with the lungs

  • Honey and hot water
  • Green tea
  • Lemon water
  • Carrot juice
  • Turmeric and ginger
  • Potassium-rich drinks, including smoothies with oranges, bananas, spinach and berries

Avoid other smokers

Breathing in other people’s smoke after you’ve quit yourself is not good for your lungs. In addition, you may feel an extra urge to smoke if you are with other smokers.

Rather go for a walk in nature with fresh air. Take deep breaths.
Bonus is that this is good for the whole body and mind.

If there is a lot of pollen and other air particles, you should limit your trips outside while your lungs are in healing mode

Breathing exercises

Diaphragmatic breathing exercises are recommended by pulmonary rehabilitation specialists to help the lungs function properly.

If you don’t have chronic lung disease, but your lungs hurt after quitting smoking, these exercises will help clean your lungs and bring them back to full health.

The breathing exercise you should learn to master if you want to refresh your lungs.
Breathe in slowly through the nose for approx. 2 seconds, exhale through the mouth for approx. 4 seconds. Press your lips together to restrict the flow of air out.

Keep a steady rhythm. The extra time spent exhaling compared to inhaling is important.

Make sure to relax your head, neck and shoulders throughout the exercise.

The benefits of breathing exercises like this are:

  • Open air passages for easier breathing.
  • Move old and stale air out of the lungs.
  • Promote relaxation.
  • Relieve shortness of breath.

Diaphragmatic breathing (also called belly breathing) increases lung function after quitting smoking

Diaphragm breathing is similar to lip breathing, but it adds an element of diaphragmatic exercise.

Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. As you inhale, place your hand on your belly and feel your belly rise while the hand on your chest remains in place.
During exhalation, exhale slowly through pursed lips. Use the hand that is on your stomach to help push air out. Repeat the exercise 3 to 10 times.

Benefits of diaphragmatic breathing include:

  • Strengthening and lengthening of the respiratory muscles.
  • Increasing cardiorespiratory fitness.

Cleanse the lungs with exercise

Physical fitness is a very important aspect of a healthy body, including healthy lungs.

The benefits of physical exercise are many and range from weight control, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, improving mental health and mood to reducing the risk of certain forms of cancer.

Furthermore, the exercise releases endorphins and dopamine, which help with nicotine withdrawal.

Yoga includes a large component of breathing exercises and exercises for the whole body. Both are good for healthy lung function and for improving the lungs after quitting smoking. Consider adding a yoga routine to your day.

If you are not used to physical exercise, slowly add it to your routine.

Gradually increase your physical activity as the weeks turn into months. When you exercise, you may notice that coughing will occur as a response.

Exercising loosens the mucus and phlegm in your respiratory tract and you cough to clear it from your system.

Coughing can be uncomfortable, but getting rid of all the dirt will help heal your lungs after quitting smoking. Kill two birds with one stone and get outside to exercise in the fresh air.

What about the tar that is in the lungs after you have stopped smoking?

If you have smoked a lot, over many years, it takes some time to clean your lungs. This is because there are layers of tar in the lungs

Research shows that for every 6 years you smoke, it takes 1 year to remove that amount of tar from your lungs.

There is no procedure or medicine that can immediately remove tar from your lungs.

It is a process that takes time

After quitting smoking, the cilia will begin to repair themselves and slowly but surely begin to remove the tar from your lungs.

Protect your lungs – be patient

When you quit smoking, you need to be patient. Avoid breathing polluted air and have a healthy lifestyle.

Illnesses such as bronchitis and even colds can lead to increased mucus production which will be harder on the lungs.

When should I contact a doctor?

Contact a doctor immediately if you have chest pain after quitting smoking that radiates into your left arm, neck and jaw; tightness, tightness, or heaviness in the chest; shortness of breath, sweating and nausea.


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