Can You Be Allergic to Cigarette Smoke

Cigarette smoke allergy is one of the most common allergies that people experience. Some of them are allergic to tobacco smoke, some to other types of smoke, and others still have no reaction at all. There are many different causes for these reactions; however, it seems that smoking cigarettes can cause a number of problems in your body. One major problem with cigarette smokers is their lungs. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of developing lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis (a condition where there is too much mucus in the airways), asthma attacks, and even heart disease. The effects of smoking on your health may not only affect your physical appearance but also your mental state. If you think that you might have a cigarette allergy then you need to learn more about it now!

What Is Cigarette Smoker’s Lung Disease?

Cigarette smoker’s lung disease is a group of diseases that affect the lungs. These conditions include emphysema, chronic bronchitis (also known as acute or non-productive cough), and asthma attacks. Emphysema is a type of damage to the lungs caused by exposure to fine particles of dust and dirt from indoor sources such as coal fires, wood burning stoves, and charcoal grills. Airborne dust such as the dust stirred up by heavy traffic and construction sites can also cause emphysema. It is one of the most common causes of death among smokers. Even though cigarette smoke is a major cause of cigarette smoker’s lung disease, it can also be brought on by other air pollutants and dust.

Chronic bronchitis is a condition that causes the person to have a non-stop hacking cough. It is usually accompanied by excessive mucous and wheezing. People who have a persistent non-productive cough for three or more months should seek medical help to rule out or confirm this condition.

Allergies can also lead to asthma attacks in people that have this respiratory disease. Allergies cause the airways in the lungs to narrow which makes breathing difficult. Hay fever and other types of allergies can bring on asthma in people who are prone to this disease.

Quitting cigarette smoking can help prevent or slow down the development of any of these conditions in a person that is a smoker. Cessation of smoking is very effective in preventing, stopping, or even reversing the damage that has been done to the lungs by cigarette smoke.

Nicotine Allergies

Nicotine is the chemical in cigarette smoke that causes addiction. It is also what causes many of the harmful effects of smoking to our bodies. Nicotine has a number of negative effects on different organ systems in our body. One of the negative effects that nicotine has on our bodies is an effect it has on the skin.

If a person’s skin comes in contact with nicotine then a rash or other type of irritation will usually occur. This is what happens when a person develops a nicotine allergy.

Nicotine Allergy Symptoms

Nicotine allergies do not usually cause serious symptoms unless a large area of skin is exposed to the allergen. In addition, symptoms will usually occur shortly after exposure to the allergen. If a person is experiencing symptoms in just one area of the skin, it can usually be easily seen and diagnosed by a physician. A rash with bumps or hives are commonly associated with nicotine allergies.

Nicotine Allergy Treatment

Nicotine is a poison and should be treated as such if a large area of skin has been exposed to it and the person is experiencing an overdose of the chemical. The best treatment for a nicotine allergy is prevention. If exposure to the allergen can be avoided, then no allergic reaction will occur.

If a rash appears on the skin after coming in contact with nicotine, the rash should be washed with cool water and soap. If an allergic reaction occurs then medical attention should be sought immediately because this is a sign that a large amount of the allergen has been absorbed into the body.

Nicotine absorption can be especially dangerous due to the fact that it is a poison and can cause life-threatening symptoms if absorbed into the body in large enough quantities. In some cases, nicotine can even cause death.

Other Allergies

Nicotine is not the only allergen in cigarette smoke. In fact, there are over four hundred chemicals that have been identified as potential cigarette smoke allergens. Many of these chemicals do not cause life-threatening symptoms like nicotine does but can cause an itchy rash or other skin irritation if contacted with the skin. Other substances, like carbon monoxide, can cause similar symptoms even if they do not come in contact with the skin.

Symptoms of Other Types of Allergies

Other types of allergic reactions to cigarette smoke can include asthma attack, burning in the throat, and inflammation of the air passages to name a few. Because cigarette smoke has such a wide range of chemicals, there are even more symptoms that may be experienced by an allergic smoker.

Preventing Other Allergies

Other than stopping smoking, there is no real way to prevent these types of allergic reactions. Most of the chemicals in cigarette smoke do not have an antidote and treatment usually involves stabilization of the person suffering from the allergic reaction until it subsides. If it is an asthma attack or difficulty in breathing then a person can use a bronchodilator to open up their airways. Most of the other symptoms will usually go away on their own or can be alleviated with medication.

Nicotine Addiction Treatment

Nicotine is a very difficult drug to treat due to the addictive nature of it. A person can go through Weaning off of nicotine in a similar way to how they would go through withdrawal from any other drug. Gaining control over the addiction can be done, but it requires a strong desire on the part of the individual to quit. Many programs involve counseling to help with the mental aspect of quitting as well.

Nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement therapies can help with the physical cravings but they should not be seen as a crutch. They should only be seen as a way to lessen the effects of nicotine withdrawal until the user gains enough control to get through the process.

Nicotine has proven to be a very dangerous drug. It should not be taken lightly and the risks should be fully understood before use. If you or someone you know has an addition to nicotine, help is available. Counseling and other programs exist to help individuals quit this toxic, yet powerful drug.

Nicotine affects a lot more than just your health when abused; it can alter your moods and even cause you to have emotional outbursts. There is also a lot of misinformation about nicotine that has been proven to be false, such as it causing cancer. (Cigarette smoking causes cancer; nicotine does not) Despite all of this information, there are still debates about nicotine because of its beneficial uses in medical fields. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, nicotine should be used responsibly because it is not without its consequences.

No matter how you look at it, nicotine is a powerful drug with the capability to alter brain chemistry as well as functioning. It opens up pathways and causes the brain to react in a certain way. This reaction can lead to psychological as well as physiological changes in the body. Most of these changes are detrimental but some can be beneficial under the right circumstances.

Nicotine’s effect on the brain can lead to an increase in concentration as well as reaction times. This is one of the reasons that people play video games or do other task that require a lot of attention while smoking or vaping. It is not uncommon to meet people that swear that their performance in sports increases when they smoke. In some cases, this may be true because their reflexes are faster, however most of the time this is a psychological effect and not a physical one.

Nicotine can also cause a release of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for things like pleasure and addiction. In this case, nicotine is altering the amount of dopamine that gets released which is causing the pleasurable feelings when smoking. Due to this, people start to associate smoking with these feelings; this causes them to continue with the habit because it is enjoyable to them.

Along with increasing dopamine levels, nicotine can also cause an increase in adrenaline. These two chemicals working together can lead to an increase in energy and heart rate which is one of the reasons people smoke before doing something athletic.

Nicotine’s effects don’t stop there though, it also has a sedative effect on the body. This is caused by a reduction in the overall efficiency of the lungs. Toxins get stuck in the lungs because they cannot be expelled from the body as quickly. These build up over time and cause damage to the respiratory system which could lead to cancer.

Nicotine also has some affects on the heart as well, it causes a narrowing of the blood vessels which increases the risk of a heart attack. This increase in blood pressure is dangerous all on its own but it becomes especially dangerous when combined with other substances. Alcohol is a common substance that people like to consume while smoking because it causes a decrease in reaction time as well as judgment. This can lead to a great risk when performing any sort of physical activity.

Nicotine also has a few effects on the digestive system as well. It causes the stomach to produce less hydrocloric acid which can lead to heartburn and a sore belly. Some people have problems with constipation caused by nicotine as well.

Nicotine can also be absorbed through the skin if it is in contact with it for an extended period of time. While this is not common, it can happen if one wraps their cigarette in paper or puts their cigarettes in their pockets. This can lead to a much higher intake of nicotine and could cause problems if it becomes a regular habit.

Nicotine is absorbed into the body through the lungs when smoking and through the digestive system when it is ingested in other ways (snuff, chew, etc…) The effects of nicotine are almost immediate after smoking or ingesting it though it can take up to twenty minutes to feel the complete effect if it is ingested. When the nicotine is in the body it starts off by increasing the heart rate and blood pressure.

The blood vessels will also narrow which leads to a decrease in blood flow. Along with this, it increases the likelihood of a heart attack. After the initial effects have passed the person using it will experience a drop in blood pressure and a slowing of the heart beat. Other physical affects include trembling, nausea, and increased production of saliva and tears.

Sources & references used in this article:

Cigarette smoke exposure facilitates allergic sensitization in mice by KB Moerloose, LJ Robays… – Respiratory …, 2006 – respiratory-research.biomedcentral …

Effects of early cigarette smoke exposure on early immune development and respiratory disease by SL Prescott – Paediatric respiratory reviews, 2008 – Elsevier

The decrease in severity of asthma in children of parents who smoke since the parents have been exposing them to less cigarette smoke by AB Murray, BJ Morrison – Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 1993 – Elsevier

Cigarette smoke enhances Th-2 driven airway inflammation and delays inhalational tolerance by CL Van Hove, K Moerloose, T Maes, GF Joos… – Respiratory …, 2008 – Springer

Environmental pollutants and allergic rhinitis by TS Higgins, DD Reh – Current opinion in otolaryngology & head …, 2012 –

Sensory neuropeptide involvement in animal models of airway irritation and of allergen-evoked asthma by JM Lundberg, K Alving, JA Karlsson, R Matran… – Am Rev Respir …, 1991 –

How cigarette smoke skews immune responses to promote infection, lung disease and cancer by MR Stämpfli, GP Anderson – Nature Reviews Immunology, 2009 –

Murine complement deficiency ameliorates acute cigarette smoke-induced nasal damage by KS Davis, SE Casey, JK Mulligan… – … —Head and Neck …, 2010 –

Cigarette smoke exacerbates mouse allergic asthma through Smad proteins expressed in mast cells by DY Kim, EY Kwon, GU Hong… – Respiratory …, 2011 – respiratory-research.biomedcentral …