Smoking and sinus infections are connected

Smoking is a major cause of health problems in America. It is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with more than 480,000 deaths each year. Additionally, it is the leading cause of a number of diseases, and quitting smoking can actually reduce the risk or those diseases. Now, a new study has shown that if sinusitis patients quit smoking, they will see their condition improve, too.

What is sinusitis?

Chronic sinusitis is a condition of persistent inflammation and infection lasting more than three months despite treatment. This is caused when swelling develops in the sinus, which blocks the opening between the sinus and the nose. If someone has been on antibiotics four or more times in the last year, there is an increased likelihood they may have chronic sinusitis. Other patients might not have a recurring infection, but instead might have nasal congestion with discolored postnasal drainage, a poor sense of smell, or fatigue. Sinusitis is diagnosed via nasal endoscopy or CT scan.

While some people can be treated with medications alone, some people have refractory sinus disease, which requires surgery or a less invasive treatment like balloon sinuplasty.

How are smoking and sinus infections connected?

People with sinusitis often find their quality of life is affected. Because their nasal and sinus passages are blocked, they find they have difficulty breathing and sleeping well. Smoking was already known to be harmful to the sinuses, not only making the sinuses unable to clear mucus but also causing swelling and inflammation. Smokers have reported having worse symptoms than non-smokers.

Quit smoking and feel better

However, a recent study has shown that chronic sinusitis patients who quit smoking will see their condition improve over a period of 10 years. They wouldn’t have to wait the whole decade to see improvement, either. Every year a sinusitis patient went without smoking, they saw a significant improvement in symptoms and needed to use less medicine.

CEENTA ENT physician Jonathan Moss, MD discusses smoking and sinus infections

“This is another study showing the significant health impacts that smoking has,” CEENTA Otolaryngologist Jonathan Moss, MD, said. “Our specialty treats many patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis, and it’s just one of many health issues that smokers have to deal with. We can improve sinus function with medications and surgery, but smoking cessation not only improves quality of life but will save your life.”

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. If you think you have sinusitis, schedule an appointment online with an ENT doctor today.


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