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Why do I feel tightness in my chest now that I’ve quit smoking?

By Margaret LaPlante, EX Coach Lead

Once you quit smoking, you may notice tightness in your chest. It can be discouraging to put in the work to quit, only to find yourself not feeling better right away. Read on for some good news!

I quit smoking, so why does my chest hurt?

After you quit smoking, vaping, dipping or chewing, your body goes through many changes. Some start immediately, as your body goes through its healing process from the damage caused by tobacco use. Your body truly is incredible. Within just 20 minutes of quitting your heart rate returns to normal!

How long does chest pain last after quitting smoking?

The topic of chest pain after quitting has come up in discussions on our EX Community.

One member Ericka5 asked: Feeling tightness in my chest after quitting, how long will it last?

“I'm using the patch and I've been smoke free for 13 days now. I just can't stand this tightness in my chest.”

Within minutes another member responded, “It will pass. That is your body telling you it is healing itself. The first 3 weeks you will periodically feel this, but it goes away. I have not felt it since the beginning of my third week. I'm doing just fine now :)”

Other members responded with their own insights:

  • I have been on the patch for about a month now and it took about three weeks before I felt good. I remember saying that I felt better before I stopped. Don't give up, it does get better.

  • Your body is busy healing itself from all the poison you put in it over time. You are so smart to quit for good. Your chest will feel much better soon.

  • You are doing great. It is completely normal to feel some tightness in your chest. Your body is gearing up to throw off the toxins that you were inhaling every day.

You might be feeling unpleasant effects in the short-term as changes happen in your body after you quit smoking. The important thing is to not give up on quitting. It is a necessary process and will be temporary. The long-term (and short-term) health benefits of quitting smoking, vaping and dipping or chewing are worth it!

What should I do if I feel worse after quitting smoking?

Check out this post on the EX Community about the physical symptoms of withdrawal.

Find tips & support with quitting.

Read the Mayo Clinic Blog answering the question Will stopping smoking cause health problems?