Singing: Does Smoking Affect My Vocal Cords?

  • Healthcare Management - Women's Health
  • August 11, 2021

Read Time: 7 minutes Smoking can have severe adverse effects on a person's health, including damage to the larynx and vocal cords, and risk for throat cancer.

Finding And Keeping Your Voice

Smoking cigarettes is widely known for having adverse health effects throughout the body. But not many smokers know about the harmful effects smoking has on a person’s vocal health. A raspy voice and irritation can be a clear result of long-term exposure to cigarette smoke. Vocal cords become irritated when exposed to smoke, which can increase the risk of developing a deadly throat disease.

viralmd connect Singing: Does Smoking Affect My Vocal Cords?

Stop irritating your vocal cords

Singers are exceptionally aware of vocal health, albeit, many make the raspy quality a staple element to the music. Despite the allure of raspy vocals, smoking is extremely detrimental to vocal cords and the surrounding structures. Smoking irritates and dries out vocals cords. Vocal cords require lubrication to vibrate correctly. Smoking can also prompt acid reflux, which worsens vocal cord irritation.

Keep down the swelling to reduce permanent damage

Smoking cigarettes or any other products introduces tar and harmful chemicals into the body and through the vocal cords, which can swell up as a result. Long-term exposure to smoke from any kind can cause excessive swelling and change the tissue structure in the vocal cords. Chronic smoking can also increase the risk of throat cancer, which includes the following symptoms:

  • Voice hoarseness
  • Chronic cough
  • Sore throat
  • Change in voice
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Seek professional help

Scheduling an appointment with a doctor or otolaryngologist should be the first step toward confirming vocal cord damage. Damage to the vocal cords can produce changes such as leukoplakia, or white patches on the inside of the mouth. Catching damage early can prevent permanent damage. A specialist can point patients to the right resources and develop a plan to treat any oral disease.

What happens after quitting smoking?

Stopping smoking will not be a cure-all for past smoking damage to the vocal cords, but can prevent further damage and reduce cancerous growths. Smokers can find resources to end the addiction, as well as an active support group for a higher chance to stick with the promise. A personal cessation plan can be the first step toward a healthier voice. For more information about smoking cessation, speak with a healthcare provider.

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