If you are a smoker and suffering from chronic sinusitis, your smoking habit might just be the reason.
This is just another good reason to consider giving up on this year’s World Smoke Free Day on the 31st May. For most smokers, giving up completely may seem daunting, but who knows, maybe if you can kick the habit for one day, it may give you hope that you may be able to give it up forever!
The first step to understanding how smoking can damage your sinuses is to know how your nose and sinuses work together to keep you healthy. Every adult produces approximately one litre of mucus in the nose and sinuses each day, most of which is transported through the nose to the back of the throat where it is swallowed. This process is helped by cilia, tiny hair-like structures that clean the nose, sinuses, and lungs of airborne particles, bacteria, and mucus.
The effect of smoking
Smoking is one of the major culprits contributing to respiratory problems, including sinusitis and rhinitis. Cigarette smoke (either by smoking or due to second hand smoke) could irritate the delicate mucus membrane linings and may also cause a person to experience swelling and intolerable discomfort in the sinus area.
The nasal mucosa gets stained by the tar when smoke is exhaled through the nose. Tobacco tar causes inflammation of the mucous membrane. Chronic sinusitis and rhinitis occur more often in smokers, because the tar intensifies the inflammation.
Nicotine and carbon monoxide produced in smoking would cause a vasospasm, which in turn would lead to ischemia of the mucosa and a dry nasal cavity. Smoking also destroys the cilia of the nasal mucosa, thereby harming the body’s own defence mechanism.
Smoking while having a sinus infection increases your chances of developing chronic sinusitis. Prolonged exposure to smoking has also been linked to nose and sinus cancers.
The rebound effect
Once people stop smoking, they tend to find that their sinus problems are exasperated for a little while. When this happens, there are products on the market that can help.
It is recommended that sufferers look for a product that has minimal side effects and has proven efficacy. A good product would be able to thin the mucus, open the sinuses and frees the airways all in one, without the need to take a handful of tablets.
Overall, smoking has been shown to cripple immune function, the body's defence mechanism against diseases and it can take years for a smoker’s nose and sinuses to get back to normal.
(Media Release, May 2011)