I was wondering if anyone among you could mention something about the recovery process of vocal cords/voice box after quitting smoking.
I am on day 14 of my quit (feeling strong and confident about it), however I seem to be waiting for the coughing to start (I have read the "every quit is different" article and learned a lot). This has been a problem with former quits, as once it started, the coughing really bothered my throat and voice.
I am a singer in a vocal ensemble.
This time there has been no coughing ,but my voice seems to be experiencing the same kind of reactions as if I were coughing! (Is this making any sense)? My voice is "breaking"...similar to the way adolescent boys sound when their voices start to change. This is happening during regular speech. While singing, it is worse and causing me to really go off key - quite embarrassing when it happened during practice yesterday. (I would like to share the fact that everyone in the ensemble is absolutely thrilled that I have quit smoking).
Again, I do realize that every quit is different, and everyone's physiology is not like mine, but I was just wondering if any of you all are singers or public speakers and could let me know what to expect time wise with these manifestations. I don't like them, but am willing to acknowledge that (hopefully) they are signs of my healing and will pass. Can anyone comment?
Sue in Israel
It's now just over three years since I quit, and like you, I experienced quite a bit of vocal disruption in the beginning. Highly annoying and embarrassing it was too. How glad I am that I persevered.
Although I hadn't sung professionally for a few years before quitting, I've always had the habit of singing day-to-day (in the car, at home with the stereo on, in the shower.... it's just part of who I am and what I do). So I was very surprised in the early stages of my quit to find that my voice had gotten *worse* instead of better.
I'm not entirely sure why, although I suspect it has something to do with the ingredients in cigarettes that may mask the effects of the poisons while you're smoking. I've read somewhere that tobacco companies actually even put bronchodilators in cigarettes! Another devious tactic to fool you into thinking that you're fine.
Well, around the 4 month mark after I quit, my voice started to improve again, and I can now hit notes that I hadn't been able to reach since I was in my early twenties (I will be 40 this year).
I think smoking is the single worst thing you can do to vocal chords, and general health.
You do get to a stage in your quit (you'll often hear that stage referred to here as "comfort", and it really is) when you realise that smoking was never, ever, ever worth the real price paid - your health. And it's so great to be back in control, after feeling enslaved by addiction for so many years!
Keep it up Sue, you're doing great and we are all cheering you on (and we don't get as hoarse as we used to) ! !
Debz in NZ