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Smoking & Wheezing

author image Julie Boehlke
Julie is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves to camp with friends and family. Julie spends her free time writing, working on her novel and brewing up new recipes of wine—her newest hobby. She enjoys scouring junk shops and antique boutiques in search of rare finds and one of-a-kind treasures. She collects vintage dishes and antiquarian books. Julie spends her days being followed around aimlessly by her most adoring fan—Mushu the pug. She ventures out on weekends to the remote trails and deep north woods of Michigan. Julie also enjoys exploring out of the way nooks and crannies along the great lakes shoreline.
Smoking & Wheezing
Young man smoking a cigarette.

Smoking can negatively affect your body in many ways. Some of the health effects from smoking can be deadly and lead to cancer and breathing problems. One side effect of smoking is wheezing. Wheezing is caused by a restricted air passage in the lungs, explains Medline Plus. Wheezing means gives off a whistling sound as you breathe. Wheezing should be taken seriously, and medical attention is recommended.

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Wheezing is often a warning sign or indication that the bronchial tubes in your lungs are not working properly. It can occur before, during or after a smoking session. Wheezing is often recognized when exhaling your breath, but it can also be identified when breathing in. When it is caused from smoking, it could be because the tubes are inflamed, filled with fluid, constricted or blocked by a tumor or foreign object.


If you are experiencing any type of shortness of breath, whistling or noises as you breathe in or out, you need to seek medical help to get a diagnosis. A physician will do a thorough examination and possibly a chest x-ray to determine the extent of your breathing difficulties. In some cases, additional testing may be required to rule out asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and lung cancer. A bronchoscopy is used to view and test the airways in the lungs, states Health Line. It is used to make an affirmative diagnosis of lung disease in patients.

Smoking Dangers

Smoking is dangerous to your health. The National Institute of Drug Abuse indicates that tobacco use contributes to 440,000 deaths in the U.S. yearly. The tar build up, carbon monoxide, nitrosamines and other chemicals can lead to airway constriction. This can cause temporary or long-term lung disease like COPD, which requires breathing treatments and oxygen to sustain life.

Treatment for Wheezing

Once your doctor confirms you are wheezing and having difficulty with breathing, he will likely advise you to stop smoking immediately. Over-the-counter smoking patches and nicotine gums may help with kicking your smoking habit. He may also prescribe various breathing treatments to help you breathe easier. These may include inhalers that contain corticosteroids, oral medications to control asthma symptoms, combination inhalers and breathing inhalers that will help reduce inflammation and control your wheezing symptoms.


Avoiding smoking and all second-hand smoke will help prevent your asthma attacks and wheezing from getting worse. Following up with your doctor even when you are feeling well will help prevent a relapse in the future. Help other family members who smoke in the household quit by being supportive of their decision to stop smoking. Improve your lung capacity and quality by exercising regularly to stay healthy and breathe easier.

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