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Smoking and Tobacco

Severe cough

05/29/2008

Question:

Hi, my husband smokes 2 packs a day,he`s 41,and while his overall health is perfect,he has bad fits of convulsive cough,especially at night or when he is more stressed.He`s had medical check-ups but he said that he didn`t cough at the doctor`s,and otherwise his lungs are fine.Please tell me what to do to ease his cough,I am afraid he is in danger of not breathing through the convulsive cough.

thank you very much.

Answer:

I am sorry to hear about your husband's terrible cough, and even more worried about his high level nicotine addiction. I suspect he has a classic smoker's cough that may be exacerbated by some acid reflux or airway spasm at night.

I also have concern about your health, and perhaps those of others including children who may be exposed to you husband's smoke. Often smokers with this level of addiction become oblivious to the risk they pose to others. The US Surgeon General's report says that 50,000 Americans die each year from somebody else's smoke. A great deal of illness from secondhand smoke occurs in children.

Go with your husband to the doctor's office and make sure you express your concerns thoroughly. More importantly, ask your doctor to help your husband quit. Nicotine addicts, like other addicts, are experts at making excuses. For the sake of your family, I hope you will stop listening to his.

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Response by:

Rob  Crane, MD Rob Crane, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University