Tobacco Avoidance

Tobacco Avoidance: Overview

There are many methods that have been used to aid those wishing to quit.  Don't give up until you find a way that works for you.  Aside from saving a lot of money, you'll feel better about yourself – and feeling better about yourself can make a big difference in the outcome of your life.  The quality of your life is based on important choices you make, such as this one.

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Simple ear electroacupuncture was shown to be significantly more effective in helping volunteers to quit smoking than a placebo treatment.  [Brit Journal of General Practice, Aug 1998;48:pp.1487-1490]


  • The urge to smoke goes away whether you light up or not.
  • Better to be a non-smoker with an occasional desire to smoke than a smoker with a constant desire to quit.
  • It is easier to stay quit than to have to quit again.

Tobacco Avoidance can help with the following:




Crohn's Disease

A study of 474 smokers with Crohn's disease found that patients who stopped smoking for more than 1 year had similar rates of flare-ups as patients who never smoked, and both groups had fewer problems than current smokers.  Quitters, for example, had a 65% lower risk of flare-up than patients who were still smoking [Gastroenterology, April 2001].  Furthermore, smoking significantly increases the likelihood for Crohn's disease symptoms after surgery, particularly in women and heavy smokers.

Ulcerative Colitis

Smokers have lower than average rates of ulcerative colitis, but higher than average rates of Crohn's disease.  Some patients with ulcerative colitis, in fact, have reported that their disorder began after they quit smoking, and many studies have reinforced the association between smoking and protection against ulcerative colitis.  Studies are showing that the nicotine patch helps to induce remission and reduce symptoms in almost 40% of patients who use it for four weeks.  Another study found, however, that patches are not useful for maintaining remission.  Side-effects, particularly in nonsmokers, include nausea, lightheadedness, and headache.  Investigators are studying methods of applying nicotine directly into the colon.  (No one should smoke for relief of ulcerative colitis symptoms; the risks from cigarettes far outweigh the potential benefits of their nicotine.)


Intermittent Claudication

Smoking is the chief cause of intermittent claudication.


Even damage from a history of heavy smoking can be reversed by quitting.  The longer the period of time that passes after quitting, the greater the return toward normal vascular health.

Dental / Oral


The vast majority of people who develop leukoplakia are smokers, and most leukoplakic patches either improve or disappear within a year of stopping smoking.


Gastric/Peptic/Duodenal Ulcers

Cigarette smoking not only causes ulcer formation, but also increases the risk of ulcer complications such as bleeding, stomach obstruction and perforation.  Cigarette smoking is also a leading cause of ulcer medication treatment failure: smoking slows the healing of ulcers.

Eyes / Ocular


Stopping smoking will help delay retinopathy.


Female Infertility

Cigarette smoking is associated with female infertility due to tubal and cervical causes.  In animal studies, nicotine has not only been shown to decrease tubal motility and blood flow, but appears to decrease estrogen levels as well.  Cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, is found in the cervical mucus of female smokers, and may be toxic to sperm.

Lab Values


Cluster Headaches

A very strong association exists between smoking and cluster headaches.

Panic Attacks

A history of smoking may play a small role in the onset of panic disorder in women, but not in men.


Susceptibility To Hangovers

Smoking intensifies the problems of a hangover because of the additional toxins and further dehydration.

Meniere's Disease

Nicotine can affect the brain and inner ear by stimulating nerve cell receptors that constrict blood vessels, thereby triggering nausea and vomiting.  Smoking can also block the effects of certain drugs that are used to treat Meniere's Disease, and injure parts of the inner ear.


Poor Bone Health

Smoking has been shown to increase the risk of developing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis - Osteopenia

Studies have shown that women who smoke one pack of cigarettes per day have on average 5-10% less bone density at menopause than do nonsmokers.

Organ Health


There is steadily increasing evidence that smoking directly contributes to damaging the delicate blood vessels that form the glomeruli, even in people who do not have a chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes Type II

Diabetics should control blood sugar and blood pressure closely and should refrain from smoking.


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Smoking is the primary cause of COPD.


Even second-hand smoke should be avoided.  In a study of passive smoke exposure, cotinine levels, when tested in asthmatic children, correlated with their bronchial sensitivity.  The higher the level of cotinine in the child's urine, the worse the child's bronchial sensitivity.  This held true for adults also.  [Clin Chem 1999;45(4): pp.505-509]


Body Odor

As well as causing bad breath, tobacco use is a major cause of body odor.  Not only does it come back through your lungs, but it comes through the skin.  It probably mixes with other elements of your body's chemistry to create a distinct odor.  If you stop smoking it may take several weeks for the body to rid itself of odor-causing substances.

Tumors, Malignant

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

The following study suggests a link between cigarette smoking and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  In 17,633 U.S.  male insurance policy holders, 49 deaths from Hodgkin's lymphoma and 21 from multiple myeloma occurred during a 20 year follow-up.  Men who had ever smoked cigarettes had an elevated mortality for non-Hodgkin's, with a risk almost fourfold greater among the heaviest smokers compared with those who used no tobacco.


Interstitial Cystitis

In people who have already been diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, symptoms may be less likely to flare up if the patient stops smoking cigarettes.

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Tobacco Avoidance can help prevent the following:



Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux

Studies show that cigarette smoking relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).


Senile Dementia

The best way to prevent multi-infarct dementia is to avoid smoking and alcohol, maintain a balanced diet, take regular exercise, have a positive attitude, and keep high blood pressure and diabetes under control.


Concern Over Wrinkled Skin

Put simply, tobacco ages you.  Female and male smokers age 40 and older are two to three times more likely to have moderate to severe wrinkling compared to nonsmokers.

Tumors, Malignant

Kidney Cancer

Not smoking is the most effective way to prevent kidney cancer and it is estimated that the elimination of smoking would reduce the rate of renal pelvis cancer by one-half and the rate of renal cell carcinoma by one-third.

Stomach Cancer

Non-smokers have a significantly lower risk of developing stomach cancer.

Colon Cancer

Smoking increases your risk of colorectal cancer.

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May be useful: may help with; may help prevent
May be useful:
may help with; may help prevent
Moderately useful: often helps with; often prevents
Moderately useful:
often helps with; often prevents
Very useful: is highly recommended for; usually prevents
Very useful:
is highly recommended for; usually prevents