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Smokers Do It More Often and Severely

First- or Second-Hand, Smoking Is a Huge Headache and Migraine Trigger


Updated: November 15, 2005

No Smoking, SOURCE: Photos.com

Smoking . . . not smoking . . . the rights of non-smokers . . . the rights of smokers. Smoking has become a huge health and social issue. When it comes to first- or second-hand smoke and headaches and Migraine, there is no doubt that smoking is detrimental indeed.

Although it may seem more obvious that smokers may bring head pain upon themselves, it should also be acknowledged that second-hand smoke is also a problem for people with head pain disorders.   

Let's remind ourselves of some of the commonly known risks of smoking that are fairly obvious in relation to head pain disorders:

  • increased blood pressure
  • circulation problems
  • increased risk of stroke
  • increased risk of heart disease
  • inflammation of the sinus cavities
  • inflammation of the nasal passages

When you start looking for a more direct correlation between smoking or second-hand smoke and head pain, the research is quite obliging in extending our list of reasons to quit. The list continues:

  • Smoking and second-hand smoke are major triggers for many types of head pain, particularly Migraines and cluster headaches.
  • Smoking is a significant block to reduction of chronic daily headache. Studies have shown that abstinence from smoking nearly eliminated headaches in some sufferers of chronic daily headache.
  • Smoking increases carbon dioxide, decreases oxygen delivery to the brain, and may actually be directly toxic to the brain in some instances. Talk about a headache trigger!
  • Smoking reduces the effectiveness many, if not all, of our headache and Migraine treatments.

There is also another incontrovertible point:

  • Smoking weakens our bodies. It weakens our immune systems, our circulatory systems, our nervous systems, our entire bodies. Our overall health can play a big role in head pain disorders. Healthier people are more successful with both preventive and abortive headache and Migraine medications. In addition, healthier people are less vulnerable to their head pain triggers.

If we want to control our headaches and/or Migraines, the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is to control and rid ourselves of the habit of and addiction to smoking. For those who smoke, but do not have headache and/or Migraine problems, quitting or at least abstaining from smoking around those who do have head pain disorders is not only considerate, it contributes to their good health.

Are you ready to quit smoking? Are you in the position to help someone else quit? For many people, smoking is an addiction and quitting is not easy. It may well be necessary to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist for assistance.* It also helps a great deal to have support. Here are links to two About forums where you can go to talk with others who understand:

*Important Note: If you are taking preventive headache medications, you may not be able to take some of the medications currently being prescribed to assist in quitting smoking such as Wellbutrin and Zyban. Be sure to consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before using any smoking cessation products, even those available without a prescription.

Updated November 4, 2005

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Headaches & Migraines
  4. Migraine 101
  5. Migraine Triggers
  6. Smokers Do It More often and Severely: First- or Second-Hand, Smoking Is a Huge Headache and Migraine Trigger. from About Headaches and Migraine

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