Snoring Is Linked To Smoking

Snoring Is  Absolutely Linked To Smoking

Smoking is well known to have many direct links with a number of health issues including cancer , stroke and heart disease, so it is not surprising to find it is linked to snoring as well.

There are ample studies carried out over the years to confirm a relationship exists between the two.

Here is a list of things we know about the smoking and snoring link.

Studies Link Snoring and Smoking

There is a term called Habitual Snoring and it is defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least three nights per week.

Also called simple snoring but not to be confused with Obstructive Sleep Apnea [OSA]. Read here for an explanation of OSA.

One of the more prominent studies linking smoking and snoring was carried out by Dr Karl Franklin, MD, PhD, of the respiratory medicine department at University Hospital in Umeå, Sweden.

This particular study amassed data from a massive 15,555 subjects. The subjects were both male and female between the ages of 25 – 54 years old. They were chosen from Iceland, Estonia, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

The participants consisted of active smokers, ex-smokers, non-smokers, and non-smokers who are exposed to second hand smoke.

The data obtained supported other medical professional opinions and that was there is a direct and indirect relationship between smoking and Habitual Snoring.

The data results were as follows:

  • 24.0% of active smokers suffered from Habitual Snoring
  • 20.3 % of ex-smokers also suffered from Habitual Snoring. Confirms if you give up smoking you will reduce the likelihood of snoring but on the other hand confirms if you have smoked in the past then you are more likely to snore than if you haven’t.
  • 13.7% of non-smokers had Habitual Snoring. That is almost half the rate for active smokers.
  • 19.8% of non-smokers who are exposed to second hand smoke on a daily basis experienced Habitual Snoring. Not a good result and shows just how bad passive smoke is.


Mucus Buildup in Lungs and Throat

Cigarette smoke suppresses a protein called BiK whose normal function is to prevent an overpopulation of mucus-producing cells in the lungs. BiK prevents mucus producing cells from multiplying too quickly. Therefore if this protein is suppressed, the body is likely to produce excessive mucus.

If there is an over production of these mucus cells then this excess mucus is retained in the small and large airways. This can cause obstruction and consequently reduces lung function, leading to a possible increase in pneumonia-causing pathogens leading to snoring.

Mucus In Throat

Mucus in Nose and Throat – Blocks Air Passage

In technical terms “Suppression of the so-called BiK protein leads to hyperplasia of airway epithelial cells and mucous cell metaplasia”.

Over-secretion of mucus is a characteristic of chronic bronchitis, which affects many cigarette smokers and is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Normally, mucus secretion increases in the airway epithelium in response to bacteria or viral infectious agents and environmental pollutants. An inflammatory response kick starts the proliferation of epithelial cells that produce the protective substance.

There has been further studies that have looked at airway tissue [autopsy] from four people who were smokers when they died, six former smokers who had reported chronic bronchitis, six former smokers who had not had chronic bronchitis, and five people who had never smoked.

It was ascertained the levels of BiK were significantly reduced (P<0.05) in the airway tissue of the former smokers with bronchitis, compared with those former smokers who did not have the condition.

We now know there is permanent damage to the lungs exposed to cigarette smoke. This might also explain why asthmatics exposed to cigarette smoke have worse asthma.

It is also known that smoking destroys cilia which are the primary mechanism in your lungs that bring excess secretions to your upper airway to be swallowed.

Respiratory Problems

Smoking weakens the respiratory system. When you inhale smoke it irritates the mucus membranes in the throat and nasal cavity.

This level of irritation results in swelling, and triggers the production of phlegm. The excess phlegm can lead to nasal congestion.

When your upper airway is congested the windpipe does not stay open as wide it should. Therefore, air is not permitted to flow freely. It causes soft tissues to vibrate as it forces its way through, and this results in Habitual Snoring.

To add to this aggravation, cigarette smoke also irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat, causing swelling and catarrh [mucus]. If the nasal passages become congested it is difficult to breathe through your nose because the airflow is decreased.

Tobacco smoke causes the walls of airways to retain fluid and swell (this is called oedema). This causes the airway to narrow, worsening snoring (and sleep apnea).

Chronic bronchitis is commonly associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of disease for 15 million individuals with COPD in the United States alone and for over 200 million people worldwide.

Quit Smoking For Snoring

It Is Not To Late

If you are a smoker then it is never to late to quit. The body does a great job repairing itself even if it does take some time.

Here is a rough timeline on how your body can fight back:

  • Within 2 days the nerve ending in the body are starting to recover and regrow themselves.
  • Within 3 days the ability to breath [lung function] improves.
  • Within 2 weeks the lung function has increased significantly, circulation has been kick started and the risk of heart attack has reduced.
  • Within 1 – 9 months the lungs have started to re-grown cilia, and as a consequence their ability to deal with the build up of mucus has increased significantly. What this in turn means is your lungs have a much better chance of remaining clean, reducing risks of infection.
  • Within 10 years there is a reduced risk of mouth, throat and esophagus cancer by in excess of 50%.
  • Finally after 15 years the risk of coronary heart disease is equal to that of a non smoker.

As you can see smoking has a huge impact on snoring.

There is no reason why, if you are a smoker, you can’t turn this around in to your advantage. I am certainly not saying it will be easy, but it will be worth it.

There are a great deal more health related benefits to quitting smoking including, quitting snoring which in itself has a number of health benefits as well.

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