Smoking What You Need to Know

January 13, 2020 by Misty Fry

It isn’t a secret that smoking is bad for your health and can cause cancer in those who smoke, but also those who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Although smoking is the leading cause of preventable mortality, 40 million people still smoke. If you have allergies, you may suffer more than those who don’t. Besides allergies, smoking can cause or worsen sleep apnea, and there is evidence to support that there is a such thing as allergies to smoke itself.


When a person has allergies, they will struggle with sneezing, watery eyes, and congestion. These responses are inflammation in the body in response to foreign substances. It is typical for the reaction to come from dust, mites, mold, or pollen. However, smoking and second-hand smoke also contain chemicals that will inflame the nasal passages, irritate the throat and eyes.

For those who already have allergies, smoking, and being around smoke create an environment of continual allergic reactions and inflammation where there isn’t any relief.

Sleep Apnea

Aside from allergies, studies show that smoking may be linked to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Despite studies that have not concluded the hypotheses, there are correlations between smoking and OSA. Smoking alters the architecture of the throat from nicotine. Which can cause an increased challenge in breathing while asleep. Researchers have not concluded. However, they believe that there is a connection that smoking can cause OSA. OSA results do not always have to include snoring, but snoring is an indicator of OSA and allergies.  Daytime sleepiness and fatigue are signs of OSA apart from snoring.

Smoke Allergies

Though some report similar reactions to cigarette smoke, it may not be that they are allergic to the smoke, but they are allergic to the chemicals in the smoke. With over 600 ingredients in cigarettes, it’s no wonder how the smoke irritates those who smoke and those who are exposed to second-hand smoking. Here are a few.

  • Acetone—found in nail polish remover
  • Acetic acid—an ingredient in hair dye
  • Ammonia—a common household cleaner
  • Arsenic—used in rat poison
  • Benzene—found in rubber cement and gasoline
  • Butane—used in lighter fluid
  • Cadmium—active component in battery acid
  • Carbon monoxide—released in car exhaust fumes
  • Formaldehyde—embalming fluid
  • Hexamine—found in barbecue lighter fluid
  • Lead—used in batteries
  • Naphthalene—an ingredient in mothballs
  • Methanol—a main component in rocket fuel
  • Nicotine—used as an insecticide
  • Tar—material for paving roads
  • Toluene—used to manufacture paint

Even if you are not an allergy sufferer, you may have similar reactions to smoke alike of a person with allergies. If you are a smoker and struggle to sleep or have daytime sleepiness, you may have sleep apnea, and this may be linked to smoking.

If you are a smoker, there are ways to quit so you can live a healthier life. Make an appointment to discuss your symptoms if you believe you have sleep apnea if you have allergies or both. An ENT can help treat both conditions and recommend steps you can take to quit smoking.

© 2021 Holly Springs Ear Nose Throat Allergy