Your Sinuses, Cigarettes & Secondhand Smoke
Written By: Tamara
August 1, 2011
The Connection Between Sinusitis & Smoke
If you or your loved one smoke cigarettes or other substances, it may be difficult to have healthy sinuses. Â Although cigarette smoke has the worst impact on your sinuses, cigars, pipes, campfire smoke, marijuana and cocaine are also harmful to our mucous membranes.
If you wonder what smoke does to your sinuses, take a look at the end of a used cigarette filter. That brown or black gunk gives you a good idea of what happens to your sinuses and lungs by breathing in smoke of any kind.
Cigarette smoke causes irritation to the mucous membrane. The nicotine in cigarettes, for example, harms the nasal cilia so that they canâ€™t move. Healthy cilia are the filters that help keep bacteria at bay and remove particles to keep us breathing easy. The weaker your sinuses are (relating to previous sinus conditions, genetic make-up and overall health), the greater the impact it will have on you. Your sinuses become congested due to your mucous membranes becoming inflamed, and this increases the mucous. Ultimately the cilia stop moving, which creates the risk of infection.
In addition, exposure to secondhand smoke appears to significantly increase the risk of chronic sinusitis. Findings reported in the April issue of Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, are not surprising, said Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, a sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and director of the New York Nasal and Sinus Center, who wrote Sinus Relief Now.
“Secondhand cigarette smoke definitely impacts those who are exposed,” Josephson said. “Clinically, I see that secondhand cigarette smoke affects patients’ lungs and their sinuses the same way that primary smoke affects these vital organs.”
“The take-home message is that smoking cigarettes is not just bad for your health but bad for those people around you, including your loved ones.”
Using a neti pot while you are trying to quit smoking can be very beneficial. Since the neti pot opens the sinuses, you are automatically led to breathe through your nose. This then triggers the brain to start breathing through the nose rather than through the mouth. Rinsing will help clear the sinuses, making a smoker more aware of the pollution inhaled through the sinuses. Often times when someone quits smoking, more mucous will accumulate, causing congestion within the sinuses and chest. Nasal rinsing will encourage the inhibited cilia to start to move again. It will also help to improve a dulled sense of smell and taste, which might motivate a smoker to quit as the taste of the nicotine becomes more unpleasant.
Since smoking and secondhand smoke are still daily realities in many places in the United States and around the world, we would like to offer some suggestions:
- If at all possible do not place yourself around secondhand smoke situations.
- If you are a smoker, for all of the obvious reasons, please quit, your chances of getting cancer, heart disease and emphysema will decrease.
- Support legislation that limits places people can smoke in your town.
- Educate yourself and others about the harmful affects of smoking and secondhand smoke.
- When you have been around secondhand smoke remember to use your Sinus Rejuvenation Oil regularly to help support your bodyâ€™s healthy sinus function.
Check out the Baraka education section for more hints on using your neti pot, infused salt, and sinus oil to help maintain your sinus health. Share with us on Facebook about what has helped you quit smoking or what has worked for you in protecting yourself from secondhand smoke.