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Smoking and Tobacco

Coughing up black

12/17/2008

Question:

Im only 20 yrs old and have been smoking for about 4 yrs. For the past yr or so ive been coughing up black stuff. Now i assumed it was just something that went along with smoking but im starting to worry about. Ive cutt down my ciggarett consumption but its not getting any better. Any help?

Answer:

Suffice it to say that "coughing up black stuff" is never good. It may be residual tars left in your lungs or potentially even old blood. One would guess that the odds of a 20-year-old having lung cancer are pretty low, but if this persists, you must certainly see a doctor.

Meanwhile, if it hasn't already become clear to you that your body is telling you that it's time to quit; well, buy some Windex. Then call 800-QUIT-NOW, the state's free telephone counseling service for smokers. It works -- and if you still need help -- please see your doctor. There are several excellent stop-smoking medicines that might really work for you. If you are coughing up black, can you imagine what the inside of your lungs look like?

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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