How are Smoking and Snoring related?


Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat causing swelling and an excessive discharge or buildup of mucus in the nose or throat (catarrh) , associated with inflammation of the mucous membrane.

If the nasal passages become congested it is difficult to breathe through your nose because the airflow is decreased. The likelihood of snoring increases as more cigarettes are smoked per day because the congestion increases with each cigarette.

Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the airways

Even passive smoking can cause inflammation of the nose and throat passages, thus increasing the risk of snoring. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to be affected by snoring than children of non smoking parents.

If you cannot stop smoking you can modify the effects by having your last cigarette at least 4 hours before you go to bed. This will give your body sufficient time to reduce the effects of the cigarette smoke and help you to sleep without snoring.

Use “wind-down” time and relaxation in place of smoking for the few hours before sleeping.

Some people are predisposed to snoring simply because of the structure of their mouth and throat. Quitting smoking is very beneficial for your health, and it certainly won’t make your snoring problem worse – it can only help. You should still consider quitting, but you shouldn’t expect it to immediately solve your snoring problem.

Quitting smoking is very beneficial for your health, and it certainly won’t make your snoring problem worse

Other common causes of snoring include:

Age. Unfortunately, as you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. While you can’t do anything about growing older, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, and even throat exercises can all help to reduce snoring.

Weight. Being overweight or out of shape doesn’t help . Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, carrying excess weight just around your neck or throat can cause snoring. Exercising and losing body fat often can be the difference between snoring and not be all it takes to end your snoring.

Gender. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary. Again, while you have no control over your build or gender, you can control your snoring with the right lifestyle changes, bedtime routines, and throat exercises.

Nasal and sinus problems. Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.

Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications, such as tranquilizers like lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium), can all increase muscle relaxation leading to increased snoring.

Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway. Changing your sleep position can help.

Snoring – Cause and Cure

Monitoring your snoring for patterns can often help you pinpoint the reasons why you snore, what makes it worse, and how to go about stopping it. To identify important patterns, it helps to keep a sleep diary (or use a sleep tracking app). If you have a sleep partner, they can help you fill it in. If you sleep alone, set up a camera to record yourself at night.

HOW you snore reveals WHY you snore
Type of snoringWhat it may indicate
Closed-mouth snoringMay indicate a problem with your tongue
Open-mouth snoringMay be related to the tissues in your throat
Snoring when sleeping on your backProbably mild snoring—improved sleep hygiene lifestyle changes may be effective cures
Snoring in all sleep positionsCan mean your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment

Try these as an adjunct to an oral appliance if necessary.

Bedtime remedies beyond smoking cessation to help you stop snoring

Change your sleeping position. Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. There are specifically designed pillows available to help prevent snoring by making sure your neck muscles are not crimped.

Sleep on your side instead of your back. Try attaching a tennis ball to the back of a pyjama top or T-shirt (you can sew a sock to the back of your top then put a tennis ball inside). If you roll over onto your back, the discomfort of the tennis ball will cause you to turn back onto your side. Alternatively, wedge a pillow stuffed with tennis balls behind your back. After a while, sleeping on your side will become a habit and you can dispense with the tennis balls.

Try an anti-snoring mouth appliance. These devices, which resemble an athlete’s mouth guard, help open your airway by bringing your lower jaw and/or your tongue forward during sleep. While a dentist-made appliance can be expensive, cheaper do-it-yourself kits are also available.

Avoid wearing a night guard. Dental appliances made to protect the teeth during night time grinding can aggravate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, A Dental Sleep Appliance is a two piece device (top and lower) and night guard is a one-piece appliance.

Clear nasal passages. If you have a stuffy nose, rinse sinuses with saline before bed. Using a nasal decongestant, or nasal strips can also help you breathe more easily while sleeping. If you have allergies, reduce dust mites and pet dander in your bedroom or use an allergy medication.

Keep bedroom air moist. Dry air can irritate membranes in your nose and throat, so if swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier may help.


Quit smoking. If you smoke, your chances of snoring are high. Smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airways and cause snoring. While quitting is easier said than done, it can bring quick snoring relief.


Vaping has been linked to wheezing in adults which is often a precursor to other issues such as sleep apnea.  Studies have also shown that vaping causes inflammation in lung tissues.

If vaping is causing inflammation in the lung, it may have a similar effect on the upper airway (where OSA occurs).  This is of concern since obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to inflammation.

Studies have shown that sleep apnea severity has been found to correlate with high levels of inflammation – the worse your sleep apnea is the more inflammation found in the body.

Bottom line, with vaping you are still facing a double hit to your sleep and sleep apnea.

Lose weight. Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease, or even stop, snoring.

Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Also talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking, as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.

Be careful what you eat before bed. Research shows that eating large meals or consuming certain foods such as dairy or soymilk right before bedtime can make snoring worse.

Exercise in general can reduce snoring, even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss. That’s because when you tone various muscles in your body, such as your arms, legs, and abs, this leads to toning the muscles in your throat, which in turn can lead to less snoring. There are also specific exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your throat.

Six anti-snoring throat exercises

Studies show that by pronouncing certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways, muscles in the upper respiratory tract are strengthened and therefore reduce snoring. The following exercises can help:

  1. Repeat each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for three minutes a few times a day.
  2. Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards for three minutes a day.
  3. Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
  4. With your mouth open, move your jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the left side.
  5. With your mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30 seconds. Tip: Look in the mirror to see the uvula (“the hanging ball”) move up and down.
  6. For a more fun exercise, simply spend time singing. Singing can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate, reducing snoring caused by slack muscles

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