Dave, i can understand. Glad you came here, a place where we won't judge :D
If you kept smoking, your lungs would eventually get used to the harshness of tobacco itself.... But! I think you are allergic to the fire safety paper they are now using. Most people are...
If you'll decide to continue smoking, please consider rolling your own. They'll taste better too.
Going for a run every morning will keep the lung damage under control, since you'll be coughing up at least some of the toxic stuff, and getting rid of the carbon monoxide in your system
Whatever you choose, at least you now understand how we all feel