Does Smoking Cause Snoring? Exploring the Link Between Smoking and Sleep Disorders

Last updated: January 28th, 2024

Did you know that smoking could be the hidden culprit behind your snoring and sleep disorders? This blog post will delve into the question, “does smoking cause snoring?”, and how it can affect your overall sleep health.

By understanding how smoking contributes to these issues, you can take the necessary steps to improve your sleep quality and reduce the risk of developing sleep disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).


Key Takeaways

  • Smoking increases the risk of snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.

  • Quitting smoking is the most effective way to reduce these risks and improve overall health.

  • Alternative nicotine sources such as vaping or marijuana should not be used for treating sleep apnea due to potential associated risks.

The Connection Between Smoking and Snoring

Many people are unaware that cigarette smoke has been found to be linked to snoring due to airway inflammation and mucus production, as well as nicotine’s effect on sleep patterns.

It is estimated that the prevalence of habitual snoring among men is between 16 and 33%, while among women, it is between 8 and 19%. Poor sleep quality is often associated with snoring, and research suggests that smoking may contribute to an increased likelihood of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

It is widely acknowledged that obesity, upper airway abnormalities, and male sex are the primary risk factors associated with snoring and sleep apnea. However, passive smoking or secondhand smoke exposure can also contribute to these issues.

Smokers are more than twice as likely to snore as individuals who do not smoke. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy can help alleviate snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.

Inflammation and Mucus Production

Smoking has been observed to induce an immunologic response to vascular injury, thus resulting in augmented levels of inflammatory markers, which can be considered a risk factor. These markers include:

  • CRP

  • fibrinogen

  • IL-6

  • CEA

In addition, smoking has been associated with the proliferation of proinflammatory bacteria, further contributing to inflammation. As a result, inflammation and mucus production caused by smoking can lead to snoring by constricting the airway.

Halting smoking can lessen these effects. With the cessation of smoking, inflammation and mucus production in your airways may decrease, aiding in the reduction of snoring and sleep apnea risk. This can lead to a better night’s sleep and improved overall health.

Nicotine's Impact on Sleep Patterns

Nicotine, which is found in cigarette smoke, has a detrimental effect on sleep patterns, making it more difficult to attain restful sleep and elevating the risk of snoring.

Research has demonstrated that cigarette smoking is correlated with elevated levels of CRP, fibrinogen, IL-6, and CEA, which can impact sleep quality. Nicotine disturbs the sleep-wake cycle, resulting in difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep, and smokers often experience a reduction in the duration of sleep.

While stopping smoking might initially worsen sleep issues, it can enhance sleep quality over time. Abandoning the habit can therefore improve your sleep and decrease the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Understanding the Risks


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition in which a person experiences multiple episodes of cessation of breathing during the night, often referred to as sleep disordered breathing. This serious sleep disorder can lead to or exacerbate other health issues such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cerebrovascular accident.

Smoking has been known to cause inflammation and irritation of the upper airway, thereby obstructing the airway and making respiration more challenging, which may lead to sleep apnea symptoms.

Discontinuing smoking is the most potent strategy to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms associated with smoking. The benefits of quitting extend to reduced OSA risk and advancements in sleep quality and general health.

How Smoking Contributes to OSA

Smoking can lead to airway constriction and inflammation, which may contribute to the development of sleep apnea. In fact, research has found that smoking:

  • Reduces the aperture in the upper airways

  • Induces congestion

  • Generates post nasal drip

  • Results in disturbances in sleep patterns

Furthermore, smoking can exacerbate the severity of obstructive sleep apnea by impacting sleep architecture, upper airway function, and arousal mechanisms. Abstaining from smoking can alleviate the inflammation and constriction in your airways, thereby lowering your risk of developing OSA and enhancing your overall sleep health.

Hypoxia and Nicotine Binding

Hypoxia is a condition characterized by decreased oxygen levels in the body tissues, which can result in symptoms such as confusion, restlessness, and difficulty breathing.

Hypoxia resulting from OSA induces the body to generate a greater number of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, which have an affinity for nicotine, thereby augmenting the amount of nicotine in the body and consequently leading to a higher rate of smoking.

There is a direct correlation between increased nicotine levels and a higher smoking frequency, as the body is more inclined to crave nicotine when there is a greater quantity of it in the system.

Tackling OSA and giving up smoking can disrupt this cycle, lessening the chance of additional health complications related to smoking and sleep apnea.

Secondhand Smoke and Sleep Disorders


Exposure to secondhand smoke can negatively affect sleep quality and exacerbate breathing difficulties, particularly in children who suffer from asthma. By protecting yourself and your loved ones from secondhand smoke, you can improve overall sleep health and reduce the risk of snoring and sleep apnea.

Increased Risk of Snoring and Sleep Apnea

It has been established that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of snoring and sleep apnea in both children and adults. This is particularly concerning for children with asthma, who are more likely to experience disordered breathing and daytime somnolence as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.

Reducing secondhand smoke exposure is a vital step in enhancing sleep quality and overall health for both those suffering from sleep disorders and their family members.

When you quit smoking, you not only enhance your sleep health but also shield those around you from the detrimental effects of secondhand smoke.

Quitting Smoking: Improving Sleep and Reducing Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Quitting smoking can have several benefits for sleep:

  • It can improve sleep quality

  • It can reduce sleep apnea symptoms

  • By removing the irritants produced by smoking in the airways, you can enjoy better sleep

  • It can lower the chance of developing sleep disorders like OSA

In the following subsections, we will:

  1. Provide tips for successful smoking cessation

  2. Discuss the benefits of CPAP therapy

  3. Introduce snoring mouthpieces as a tool to help open your airway during sleep.

Tips for Successful Smoking Cessation

For a successful smoking cessation, here are some steps to follow:

  1. Set a quit date to stop smoking.

  2. Steer clear of triggers that might ignite cravings.

  3. Garner support from friends, family, and professionals.

  4. Employ nicotine replacement therapy to assist in managing nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

Practising patience during the quitting process also plays a key role as adapting to a life devoid of cigarettes might take a while. Focus on the long-term benefits of quitting smoking, such as improved sleep quality, reduced risk of sleep apnea, and better overall health.

CPAP Therapy and Smoking Cessation

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is a medical treatment for sleep apnea that utilizes a machine to provide air pressure through a mask in order to maintain the airway open during sleep.

CPAP therapy can help improve sleep quality by diminishing snoring and augmenting oxygen levels.

Moreover, CPAP therapy can facilitate the reduction of nicotine cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making quitting smoking more manageable.

Additionally, it can diminish the likelihood of relapse by enhancing sleep quality, further supporting your journey towards a smoke-free life and improved sleep health.

Snoring Mouthpieces To Open Your Airway

Snoring mouthpieces are devices designed to reduce snoring by engaging the teeth and securing the lower jaw in a forward position, thereby facilitating the maintenance of an open airway during sleep.

These devices enlarge the breathing passages and facilitate improved airflow, helping to diminish snoring and enhance sleep quality.

Utilizing a snoring mouthpiece can have several benefits, including:

  • Decreasing the chances of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders

  • Enhancing sleep quality

  • Improving overall health

  • Reducing the risk of sleep disorders

Using a snoring mouthpiece in conjunction with quitting smoking can further improve sleep quality and reduce the risk of sleep disorders.

Alternative Nicotine Sources: Vaping, Marijuana, and Sleep Apnea


While some people may turn to alternative nicotine sources such as vaping and marijuana as a means to quit smoking, it is important to understand that these options may not be suitable for those with sleep apnea.

Nicotine continues to stimulate the body, complicating the process of falling asleep timely and potentially impacting sleep quality.

In the following subsections, we will discuss the risks of vaping and marijuana use for those with sleep apnea.

Vaping: Not a Safer Alternative

Vaping still contains nicotine, which can inflame airways and affect sleep cycles, making it unsuitable for those with sleep apnea. In fact, studies have suggested that vaping may be associated with:

  • Nicotine addiction

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

  • Damage to lung health

  • Exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins

  • Potential risk of cancer

Recognizing that vaping does not present a safer alternative to smoking for sleep apnea patients is crucial. A more beneficial approach to enhancing sleep health would be to focus on smoking cessation through other means like nicotine replacement therapy.

Marijuana and Sleep Apnea

Marijuana may be beneficial for sleep, however, due to the lack of evidence and potential risks associated with prolonged use, it is not recommended for those with sleep apnea.

While marijuana may help alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring, by relaxing the muscles in the throat and airways, the long-term effects of marijuana use on sleep apnea are yet to be ascertained, and addiction and other health issues may arise with prolonged use.

In conclusion, abstaining from marijuana as a sleep apnea treatment and focusing on other strategies, like smoking cessation and the use of CPAP therapy or snoring mouthpieces, can better enhance your sleep health.


In conclusion, smoking not only affects your overall health but also plays a significant role in snoring and sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea.

By understanding the link between smoking and sleep disturbances, you can take the necessary steps to quit smoking, protect yourself and others from secondhand smoke, and explore alternative treatments like CPAP therapy and snoring mouthpieces.

Ultimately, improving your sleep health and reducing the risk of sleep disorders will lead to a better quality of life and overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will quitting smoking stop snoring?

Quitting smoking can help reduce snoring and improve your sleep quality, making it a great benefit to your overall health.

How long after quitting smoking will I stop snoring?

Within four years of quitting smoking, snoring prevalence should decline to the level of those who have never smoked.

What causes most snoring?

Most snoring is caused by the vibration of relaxed throat tissues while breathing during sleep. Conditions such as pregnancy, weight gain, certain medications, congestion, and sleep apnea can also contribute to snoring.

How does smoking contribute to snoring and sleep apnea?

Smoking can restrict and inflame the airways, which can lead to snoring and the development of sleep apnea.

Is vaping a safer alternative to smoking for those with sleep apnea?

Vaping is not a suitable alternative to smoking for those with sleep apnea as it still contains nicotine, which can exacerbate airway inflammation and disrupt sleep cycles.



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