Effects Of Smoking On IBS

It is common knowledge that smoking tobacco can have a number of adverse effects on the human body. The smoke you inhale passes from your mouth, proceeds to move into your respiratory system, and then wreaks havoc on all the internal organs and systems it can reach, which are more accessible to cigarette smoke then you might think.

Tobacco’s Effects on the Body

So, let’s start our conversation about the adverse effects of smoking with various oral and respiratory diseases. From the moment the cigarette smoke enters your mouth, the damage begins; decreased lung functions and the increased risk of oral and lung cancer are among the most known risks of smoking. The smoke then enters your lungs; this means it now has easy access to your circulatory system. It can become the cause of high blood pressure, low oxygenation of blood, and damage to the arterial walls.

By hitching a ride on the circulatory system, the smoke particles can reach virtually every part of your body. It can damage your muscles, your immune system and for men also their sperm count. It can be the cause of low bone density, infertility in women, and increased heart attack risk. To sum it up in simple words, smoking is really bad for your health, but this is something we were already all aware.

So if you have IBS, are there even more unpleasant effects you have to worry about, on top of the already mentioned risks?

Is cigarette smoking a trigger for IBS symptoms?

You can set aside all the dangers of cigarette smoking aside, if possible, and look at how it can trigger your IBS symptoms. Tobacco can cause irritation and inflammation in your intestines, which means that it can directly impact your IBS symptoms. Intestinal irritation caused by smoke can result in diarrhea, pain and other stomach related issues; like decreased efficiency of the digestive system and the metabolism. Nicotine can also be responsible for altered bowel movement. Basically, if you are an IBS sufferer and you smoke cigarettes, you are putting your IBS symptoms on steroids.

There is a common misconception among IBS-C sufferers that tobacco offers effective relief from constipation. As mentioned above, tobacco can actually cause your IBS symptoms to flare, resulting in diarrhea.

Technically, that will relieve your constipation, if you can call multiple trips to the bathroom relief. And it is a temporary and least effective way to treat your IBS-C symptoms, because when you stop smoking, they will be worse than ever. Heed the various studies and researches which suggest that IBS-C sufferers should avoid cigarettes at all costs and that there are far better ways for relief from constipation.

What are the effects of cigarette smoking for IBS sufferers?

Tobacco contains nicotine, which can cause your IBS symptoms to flare up. Tobacco is known to be an irritant for your digestive system, and when you are an IBS sufferer, the negative effects are more pronounced. Tobacco smoke can cause damage to both the upper and the lower esophageal sphincter, which causes heartburn and acid reflux; conditions that IBS sufferers are all too familiar with. Nicotine is also linked with increased acid production in the stomach, which can worsen your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.


There are two very valuable lessons you can learn from all of this information; the first one is that, smoking harms almost every organ in your body and long-term smoking can have fatal effects. The second is that, tobacco usage is one of the gravest sins you can commit if you suffer from IBS.

About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

3 comments on “Effects Of Smoking On IBS

  1. I stopped smoking 5 days ago n my ibs is now almost non existent. Had severe Cramping and running to loo every morning but now that’s not happened once. Personally stopping smoking has really helped

    • Hi Kerry, thank you for stopping by. I am so glad that giving up smoking has also helped your IBS symptoms. Well done! xo Larah

  2. As a smoker myself, my symptoms tend to be worse the less I smoke. In fact, I quit a few years ago and it was bad. My stomach hurt, and I felt sick to my stomach no matter what I ate. This went on for 3 months. I believe my acid reflux was made worse after quitting. I guess no two people are the same. I don’t smoke prepackaged ones, I do the RYO ones.

Comments are closed.