Nutrition Tips : How Does Smoking Affect Your Throat?

Nutrition Tips : How Does Smoking Affect Your Throat?

November 1, 2019 9 By Ewald Bahringer


My name is Christine Marquette, and I’m a
registered dietitian with the Austin Regional Clinic, and I’m going to talk to you about
how smoking affects your throat. Smoking affects your throat in two ways. The heat from the
actual smoke, as well as the tar. As both enter your throat, they cause inflammation
and irritation. The heat in particular, is what starts to cause the swelling and the
irritation. The tar actually is carcinogenic, meaning that it can cause cancer, so there’s
little particles that you’re actually inhaling, that adhere to the tissues in your throat.
Ultimately, these can cause various nodules or polyps, and when that tar gets into those
particular inflamed nodules, that’s when you can develop polyps that are cancerous. The
other thing that can happen, is it can actually form polyps on your vocal cords, so that’s
a lot of the reason why, when you hear somebody who is a heavy smoker, their voice tends to
be a lot harsher, or a lot deeper. It tends to be a bit scratchier, than perhaps their
voice was before they smoked, so that’s one of the reasons, because there’s actually these
little growths, or these little polyps, that are attaching to their vocal cords. Sometimes
surgery can be done to remove these polyps, but it isn’t always successful. Sometimes
people actually lose the use of their vocal cords. That’s what will happen when you see
someone who has that little hole in their trachea, because they actually have had so
many problems with nodules, and they had to have them removed, at this point. That is
a way that they actually have to breathe, and in order for them to talk, they do have
to cover that opening up, otherwise, they can’t speak, or they have to use a little
machine, that actually allows them to speak with a mechanical voice, so smoking can really
interfere with your throat. It can cause cancer. It can cause you to lose your voice completely,
forming those nodules, so remember, smoking is very bad for your throat. It can also cause
something called leukoplakia, that’s actually prior to full blown cancer. It’s white patches
that can form on your throat, so smoking affects your throat in a number of ways, nodules,
pre-cancer cells, and full blown cancer.