A smoker's cough is developed when a person consistently smokes e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, or other tobacco products. A chronic cough is also one of the telltale symptoms of lung cancer.
What is Smoker’s Cough?
Coughing is a normal symptom that occurs when there is an irritation in the throat or lungs. A cough can be an innocent side effect after inhaling something the wrong way, but it can also be a sign of disease. A smoker’s cough is a long-term form of the symptom that typically occurs during and after consistent smoking. A person who smokes cigarettes may develop a smoker’s cough since the tobacco affects the lung’s ability to function. Smoking cigarettes may lead to multiple different health issues, including a higher risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancers.
Causes of Smoker’s Cough
It’s no secret the negative effects smoking has on the body. Around 16 million Americans have diseases caused by their smoking habits. A cough can begin when the body is trying to expel the toxins inhaled from the cigarette. Each puff of a cigarette puts chemicals into the body and interferes with the cilia’s ability to filter out those toxins. Inflammation begins to occur as toxins build up in the body, causing the persistent cough.
As the smoker’s cough progresses, the body will begin to produce phlegm. It is normal for the body to produce mucus to give the throat a protective layer, but overproduction can lead to thick phlegm forming. Take a look at the color of your phlegm when you cough it up. Yellow or green phlegm may indicate the presence of lung cancer or infections happening in the body.
Over time the inability to filter out toxins will lead to the body not being able to fight off disease and infection. Conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma may develop from smoking. Secondhand smoke can also lead to the development of a smoker’s cough. Inhalation of smoke from the air can lead to the same devastating effects as smoking a cigarette. Consider avoiding places where there is smoking inside and changing clothes after being around smoke to minimize secondhand smoke effects.
Smokers Cough Treatment Options
The first step when navigating treatment options for your smoker’s cough is to quit smoking. The body’s ability to heal after years of smoking is remarkable. If you quit, your blood oxygen levels and blood pressure will begin to even out a mere 2 weeks after quitting. After a couple of years, the body will show minimal signs of smoking ever occurring.
There are multiple at-home remedies you can experiment with to help ease the intensity of the cough. These remedies may soothe smoker’s cough symptoms:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Gargling salt water
- Drinking hot tea
- Eating cough drops
- Adding a humidifier to your home
If your smoker’s cough is persistent after a few weeks, consider seeing your doctor or physician. A continual smoker’s cough can be an early sign of disease, infection, or cancer. Lung cancer’s most common symptom is a chronic cough. The sooner you can get diagnosed, the better options for treatment and overall prognosis.
Recognizing Early Signs of Lung Cancer
Knowing the early signs and symptoms of lung cancer can put you at an advantage when deciding when to seek medical help. We recognize that some people may think a cough or smoker’s cough specifically could be innocent, but the reality is it could have sinister origins. The lung’s main function is to bring oxygen into the body, and when they are impaired, the once-simple task of breathing becomes difficult. Early symptoms of lung cancer include:
These symptoms may continue or get worse as the cancer progresses into a later stage. If you or someone you know has these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible. These warning signs for cancer should alert you to know there is a possibility of lung cancer present. Lung cancer is one of the deadliest and most aggressive forms of cancer out there. Identifying and diagnosing in the early stages is crucial as the overall prognosis for lung cancer is only 18.6 percent. Treatment in stages 1 and 2 has better outcomes compared to stages 3 and 4.
Connection Between Smoker’s Cough and Lung Cancer
The connection between having a smoker’s cough and being diagnosed with lung cancer is undeniable. By smoking tobacco cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, and cigars, a person is putting toxic chemicals into their body. Some of those chemicals are known carcinogens, which can cause lung cancer. You may develop a smoker’s cough through long-term or short-term smoking of tobacco products, and this is a primary symptom of lung cancer.
If you or someone you know has smoked over a period of time and have a persistent smoker’s cough, you should see your doctor or physician immediately. Ignoring the symptoms of lung cancer may be deadly. Seek medical advice about your symptoms and ensure you aren’t harboring a cancer diagnosis. If you need help or have more questions regarding your diagnosis or financial aspects of treatment, our patient advocates are here to help you during and after your journey.