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What causes throat pain and irritation after quitting smoking?

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Posted on Sat, 6 Sep 2014
Question: Hi my throat pains after I smoke. I left smoking daily two years back but do smoke sometimes...... in XXXXXXX this year my throat starts pain if I smoke and It continues for 6-7 days.....it pains a little bit while swallowing....what can be reason ... I am kind of worried that it may be throat cancer?
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Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (38 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Checklist for throat cancer

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read through your query in detail.
If you have stopped smoking more than 2 years ago then the irritation and throat pain may be due to hypersensitivity of the laryngeal mucosa to smoking.

I have worked at a cancer institute for 3 years and find that throat cancer is less common at your age but not unheard of. The alarming symptoms of throat cancer are the following:
Abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds
Cough
Coughing up blood
Difficulty swallowing
Hoarseness that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks
Neck or ear pain which becomes continuous
Sore throat that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks, even with antibiotics
Swelling or lumps in the neck
Weight loss not due to dieting

If you do not have the above then chances of cancer are very less. However you may choose to consult an ENT surgeon and get a complete clinical examination of throat done should you have persisting pain and sore throat for more than 2 weeks.

You must avoid smoking by all means for the benefit of your health. For this you may try nicotine gum occasionally to cut your crave for smoking.

Please feel free to correct any oversight in my interpretation of your problems and discuss them in detail as per your requirements.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Vivek Chail (56 minutes later)
When I say I left smoking 2 yrs back, I mean not daily I smoke. It can be like 3-4 cigarettes a month or no cigarettes at all for 4 to 5 months. This Friday I had some puffs of smoke and my throat is paining from that time. The symptoms you have given.... I have none of them except currently only "Difficulty swallowing" from last 3 days. But I am sure this pain (same pain two months back that continued till 6-7 days) surfaces up due to smoking.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail (34 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
May have to stop smoking completely

Detailed Answer:
Hi XXXXXXX
Thanks for writing back with an update.

Your smoking pattern in the past has been minimum. If you have smoked 3 to 4 cigarettes a month, then there is no significant associated risk from cancer of the throat due to smoking alone.

You are surely hypersensitive to smoking if you are getting this problem every time you smoke and may choose to use nicotine chewing gums once in a while instead of smoking. I cannot say that you have much choice on the use of filter cigarettes because the slightest amount of smoke is causing throat irritation in you.

If the throat discomfort does not get better in a week it would be nice to consult an ENT specialist and take medications for relief.

Hope your query is answered.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Regards,
Dr.Vivek
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Vivek Chail

Radiologist

Practicing since :2002

Answered : 6865 Questions

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What causes throat pain and irritation after quitting smoking?

Brief Answer: Checklist for throat cancer Detailed Answer: Hi XXXXXXX Thanks for writing in to us. I have read through your query in detail. If you have stopped smoking more than 2 years ago then the irritation and throat pain may be due to hypersensitivity of the laryngeal mucosa to smoking. I have worked at a cancer institute for 3 years and find that throat cancer is less common at your age but not unheard of. The alarming symptoms of throat cancer are the following: Abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds Cough Coughing up blood Difficulty swallowing Hoarseness that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks Neck or ear pain which becomes continuous Sore throat that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks, even with antibiotics Swelling or lumps in the neck Weight loss not due to dieting If you do not have the above then chances of cancer are very less. However you may choose to consult an ENT surgeon and get a complete clinical examination of throat done should you have persisting pain and sore throat for more than 2 weeks. You must avoid smoking by all means for the benefit of your health. For this you may try nicotine gum occasionally to cut your crave for smoking. Please feel free to correct any oversight in my interpretation of your problems and discuss them in detail as per your requirements. Hope your query is answered. Do write back if you have any doubts. Regards, Dr.Vivek