You've already heard from Surgeon's General and a myriad of other credited sources the many reasons why smoking is bad for your health. And while their claims are still very true, there's actually one little-known health benefit that you can get when you light up a cigarette: a reduction in allergy symptoms.

Confused? It's no wonder, since most people characterize smoking as an allergy and asthma trigger. This is the case for many, but it's also recently come to light that cigarette smoke seems to have some effect in keeping allergies away.

Research on the Allergies and Smoking Link

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands explored the impact of cigarette smoke on mice in the laboratory and they discovered that the smoke seems to prevent the mast cells from producing proteins that can lead to allergy-related inflammation. By stopping this reaction that's at the heart of many allergy attacks, the expected allergy symptoms can often be avoided. The scientists believe that this benefit can also transfer to humans. These findings were published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy in 2009.

While this information isn't meant to encourage smoking in any way, the hope is that researchers will be able to use this finding to better understand allergic responses and to develop more effective prevention and treatment methods.

What You Can Do

If you're a smoker who's trying to kick the bad habit, this news shouldn't cause you to reach for your lighter and a cigarette. Remember that experiencing some nasal allergy symptoms will be much more tolerable than suffering from lung cancer or other life-threatening illnesses that can result from long-term smoking. It just means you may need to stock up on tissues to deal with the possible side effects when you make smoking a thing of the past.

If you need some help quitting, your doctor can suggest some effective smoking cessation tools, supports, and even medications to help you with this challenge, and to manage any allergy symptoms that may arise in the process.

Managing Allergy Symptoms

You can also pay attention to your allergy triggers so you can try to avoid them and minimize your symptoms. Allergy-proofing your home to remove dust mites, mold, pet dander, and pollen can be very effective. Take precautions to shower and wash your hair in very hot water after spending time outdoors to remove seasonal allergens.

If your symptoms persist despite your allergy proofing efforts, talk to your doctor about some of the latest allergy control medications. If your allergies are severe, he might suggest immunotherapy injections to help build up your body's tolerance to allergens. It will require some effort, but before you know it you'll be able to stop smoking and be free from your worst allergy symptoms.




"Cigarette Smoke Can Prevent Allergies, Study Suggests." Faculty of 1000: Science Daily, 18 May 2009. Web, 4 Sept. 2011.

Mortaz et al. "Cigarette Smoke Suppresses in Vitro Allergic Activation of Mouse Mast Cells." Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 39 (5) (2009): 679. Web, 4 Sept. 2011.