Smoking, Secondhand Smoke, & Quitting Smoking Effects on Sinuses

Secondhand Smoke

Does secondhand smoke cause damage to my sinuses?

Like smoking, being exposed to secondhand smoke can do damage to your respiratory system. In fact, secondhand smoke is associated with more frequent lung and sinus infections, chronic coughs, ear infections, and even snoring and sleep hygiene problems.

How does smoking affect my body?

While most are aware that smoking can result in serious health problems, many do not realize that smoking does not only affect the lungs, mouth, and throat. In fact, smoking can result in serious complications to your sinuses and ability to breathe. Your sinuses and nose are responsible for creating a mucus layer that coats the nasal passages and protects your respiratory system from harm and keeps it clean. Small hair-like structures in the nose called cilia line the nasal passages and help the mucus flow as it should.

Smoking damages the cilia, causing mucus to clog up in the nasal canal. In addition, smoking tobacco introduces formaldehyde and ammonia into your airway. The body’s response to these chemicals is to produce more mucus than usual. The lack of function of the cilia along with the overproduction of mucus can cause frequent sinus infections and common colds, and eventually lead to the development of allergies and even cancer.

Could I be allergic to cigarette smoke?

Many experience what seems to be an allergy to tobacco smoke. Tobacco smoke can cause the following symptoms, even for those who are only experiencing secondhand smoke or only smoke on occasion:

  • Running nose
  • Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Snoring
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Congestion
  • Headaches
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinusitis

How can I treat a tobacco smoke allergy?

Most doctors report that allergy-like symptoms that result from tobacco smoke are not exactly caused by an allergy. Instead, the discomfort and symptoms are due to the exposure to harmful chemicals found in the smoke. In fact, anyone who is exposed to the chemicals found in most cigarettes are likely to experience these symptoms at one point or another. However, some people are more sensitive to them than others.

If you are experiencing irritation or illness as a result of cigarette smoke exposure, the best remedy is to avoid the smoke. Your doctor may be able to help you find other ways to alleviate your symptoms if you are unable to avoid the smoke exposure.

If you are suffering from tobacco smoke reactions, the first step is to consult with a sleep health expert. Ear, nose, and throat specialists at eos sleep have extensive experience in treating ear, nose, and throat conditions as well as sleep-related problems. Call 212.873.6036 today or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment or to learn more about eos sleep treatment options.

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