To long time smokers afraid to quit smoking or who refuse to stop smoking cigarettes based on the 'What good will it do me?' mentality...
No matter how long you've smoked, your lungs and vital organs have the power to heal from the years of abuse inflicted upon them. I had smoked since I was 12, so cigarettes did a significant amount of damage on every part of my body, including my height, my lungs, etc.
At around the age of 24, my doctor began telling me that I needed to quit smoking. My lungs were charred and my breathing sounded (according to my doctor) like I was in my 60's. I could even feel the effects, but did nothing. My heart and lungs hurt often, I would wake up in the mornings short of breath and just light up a cigarette even though it made me hurt even worse. I didn't know it at the time, but I was even having mini heart attacks. I would get light headed and my left arm and the left side of my upper body would 'sting.'
This went on for 5 years until I developed an infection in my chest that caused me excruciating pain. I went to prompt care and the doctor hadn't even seen me before she knew what caused it: Smoking cigarettes. As she entered the room, she was already prepped for her first question: "How long have you been smoking?"
17 years, and - at that point - at least (but generally more than) 2 packs a day. I finally quit smoking on May 5th 2009. I was scheduled to see my doctor just over 6 weeks or so after I went to prompt care. By the time I saw my regular doctor, I had been quit for a few weeks and he could ALREADY TELL just by listening to my lungs that I had quit smoking.
I was really hacking up a lot of crap at this point, and he informed me that it was perfectly natural. He told me to expect it for the following months to come. I was relieved to find out that my almost unbearable coughing after quitting smoking was the process of healing!
Although I have a cold now and I've been coughing a bit, I haven't had a problem with excessive coughing or breathing for months now. I am able to play with my dog for much longer than I used to without getting worn out. She's a shepherd and likes to make me chase her (she won't just fetch. lol)
When I first started practicing Yoga, I couldn't keep a deep breath or hold a pose (or get into some of them, for that matter) for the recommended time...Now when I exercise and meditate, I'm able to control very deep, life sustaining breaths that deliver oxygen to my body, helping it heal further; and I am physically capable of performing some of the most advanced stretches.
I went to the club recently with some younger friends of mine, and I hadn't been out dancing in years. I had more energy than I remembered having in my early 20's when I smoked. There are examples every day of how my health continues to improve since I have quit smoking cigarettes. Now is the perfect time to choose life...By this time next year you, too, will be amazed at how much your health has improved once you stopped smoking cigarettes.
Best of luck to everybody...My door is always open for support.