You’ve put puffing in your past. Brush your shoulders off, because quitting the cancer sticks is no easy feat -- the torturous withdrawals guarantee that. But now that the congratulations are over, you want to reap the rewards. You want to know how long you have to wait until your lungs are clean as a Norwegian roadside stop (i.e., very, very clean).
The bad news? Your lungs are never going to be as healthy as someone who’s never smoked, confirms Gaetane C. Michaud, MD, a pulmonologist and member of the faculty at NYU Langone Medical Center.
But don’t let that discourage you; quitting is still crucial to your health. For starters, you’re no longer exposing yourself to the thousands of chemicals (70ish of which are known to cause cancer) in tobacco smoke. Bonus points for slashing your risk for lung cancer, heart disease, and more.