Medical Q&As

Chest pain - from smoking?

I am a 27-year-old female and have been a smoker on and off for the last 9 years. Recently I have cut down to 2 to 3 cigarettes a day and have also changed to a lighter brand. But in the last few days I have experienced chest pain. It started on and off so that when I breathed deeply I could feel it but if I relaxed and took shallow breaths for a while then it would go away. Two days I got it and it lasted into the evening for several hours. Should I get this checked out?

The type of pain you are referring to can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be happening as a result of a chest infection or even a condition affecting the wall of your chest. For example, if you took a bad fit of coughing it is possible to cause a strain in the muscles of the chest wall, which could give rise to recurrent episodes of pain every time you take a deep breath. Maybe you received a minor knock to your chest wall, which could also result in pain while breathing. In other words your pain could be coming from inside the chest or possibly the chest wall itself. I would exclude any possible cardiac cause for this because as a general rule breathing in and out does not aggravate heart related pain. I would suggest that you visit your GP to have this matter checked out so that you can receive an explanation for the cause of your pain. It is most unlikely that you have suffered any sinister condition as a result of cigarette smoking but perhaps this experience may help to galvanise your intention to stop. However, should you continue to smoke the cumulative effect of long-term smoking could have irreversible effects on virtually every system of your body. You have made an excellent start to stopping your habit. So keep up the good work and visit your GP for added peace of mind.