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Smoking and Snoring – Are They Linked?

Are smoking and snoring linked? Man breaks cigarette in half.

Snoring is common amongst both men and women of all ages, with incidences increasing with age. There are many varied reasons why people snore, and for most of them, a combination of factors contributes to what is a bigger issue than simply annoying one’s sleeping partner.

A major contributing factor for a lot of people who snore is their smoking habit. There is a direct association between snoring and smoking cigarettes, cigars, pipes, cannabis, or vaping. Exposure to passive smoke also results in a greater likelihood of snoring.

Put simply, smokers and vapers snore more often and more severely than those who don’t or who have quit.

Did You Know?

In New Zealand today, for people over the age of 15 years:

  • Smoking rates are declining overall in Aotearoa New Zealand and are currently the lowest on record for the nation.
  • 9.2% of adults currently smoke, with 8% of adults smoking daily.
  • 65% of adults have never smoked regularly.
  • Men are more likely overall to smoke cigarettes than women.
  • Māori men smoke more than Māori women; Pacific Islander women smoke more than Pacific Islander men. Māori smoking rates are significantly higher than for European and other population groups. The lowest rates of adult smoking are among Asians.
  • The highest smoking rates are among 45–64-year-olds.
  • Young adults who reach age 25 without smoking are statistically unlikely to begin doing so thereafter.
  • 5000 people in NZ die annually due to smoking or second-hand exposure to cigarette smoke.
  • Vaping rates are rising as many tobacco cigarette quitters switch to e-cigarettes. 8.3% of adults now vape daily.

Are Snoring or Sleep Apnoea Impacted by Smoking?


Smokers are statistically more than twice as likely to snore as non-smokers.

Smoking influences and worsens both snoring and sleep apnoea – and studies show that smokers frequently snore for a greater percentage of the night on average than non-smokers.

Snoring and sleep apnoea are not the same. Snoring can often be effectively managed conservatively, however obstructive sleep apnoea can be a dangerous medical condition and it warrants a proper diagnosis and ongoing, medically prescribed, and supervised treatment.)

Smoking is not just an enemy of good health – it is also a destroyer of a good night’s sleep. It contributes heavily to snoring in smokers.

How Does Smoking Impact Snoring?

  1. Cigarette smoke and the tar and other chemicals in it irritate the lining membranes of the nasal passages, mouth, throat, and lungs.
  2. Irritation causes inflammation, swelling, and catarrh. Catarrh is a build-up of mucous that the body creates to protect these tissues from damage.
  3. Catarrh causes sinus congestion, nasal stuffiness, and a build-up of phlegm in the throat and chest (and associated unpleasant effects including bad breath, post-nasal drip, and coughing up mucous), narrows the airways, and impinges upon airflow whilst breathing.

Narrowed airways from irritation and catarrh directly cause snoring.

Every cigarette/cigar/pipe smoked creates more inflammation and swelling in the airways – so the more one smokes, the higher the likelihood and severity of snoring.

Additionally, passive smoking from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes has the same detrimental effects on non-smokers to a considerable extent. If you smoke, your partner and other household members, especially babies and children, will be negatively affected by your habit.

Is Vaping as Bad as Smoking?

A lot of people are now turning to vaping e-cigarettes to stop smoking. Some – especially people under the age of 25 – are taking it up recreationally, despite never having smoked cigarettes previously.

Vaping is sold as a safer, “cleaner” alternative to smoking; instead of inhaling tar, tobacco, and nicotine in smoke, the vaper inhales water vapour, nicotine, and flavouring.

Contrary to marketing spin, vaping is not good for users or safe – though it is safer than cigarettes and can be helpful to initially break a cigarette habit and is certainly safer in terms of passive smoking.

Vapers still inhale many chemicals, often including nicotine, and it has both inflammatory and stimulant effects that disrupt and prevent sleep and which contribute to snoring.


How Can Quitting Smoking Improve Snoring?

Quitting smoking and/or vaping is an important way to reduce or even stop snoring – especially if you also adopt other helpful lifestyle and sleep hygiene changes.

Quitting smoking:

  • Allows your body to recover – reducing inflammation and catarrh is reduced and clearing the airways to function better.
  • Enables you to sleep better.
  • Reduces some of the risks associated with snoring and OSA such as cancer, obesity, mental health issues, diabetes, high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease and stroke, erectile dysfunction, and acid reflux.
  • Mitigates nighttime nicotine cravings that can disrupt sleep.
  • Helps you feel better overall – which encourages healthier lifestyle choices like losing excess weight, exercising more, eating better, drinking less alcohol, etc.
  • Snoring less (and smoking less or not at all) can improve your interpersonal relationships and your partner’s and children’s health as well.
  • You will smell better – and your senses of smell and taste will also improve!

It can take some time for quitting smoking to dramatically impact your snoring in a positive way. Within four years of quitting or less, you can expect your snoring prevalence to decline to the level it would be had you never smoked at all.

Quitting is hard. While we recommend quitting altogether, even reducing the amount you smoke can help reduce snoring and improve your overall health and well-being.

If you do smoke, try to have your last cigarette of the day no later than four hours before bedtime – this will help to reduce its effects on snoring and sleep as much as possible.


Where to Get Help Quitting Smoking

  • Ask family and friends for encouragement and support.
  • If possible, avoid environments and situations where you would usually smoke most.
  • See your GP for medical quitting strategies and referrals for behavioural support.
  • See your local pharmacist for Nicotine Replacement Therapy.
  • Contact Quitline in New Zealand on 0800 778 778 or Text 4006
  • Find your local Quit Smoking service for advice and support.
  • Visit Quit Strong for a free quitting coach.


Use ApneaRx to Help Stop Snoring!

The ApneaRx stop-snoring device is a highly effective and affordable mouthguard to stop snoring and treat the symptoms associated with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Its fully adjustable design ensures a comfortable, customised fit. ApneaRx is worn in the mouth while you sleep to gently move the lower jaw slightly forward. This helps to open the airway for smoother, easier breathing which helps to reduce snoring and sleep apnea from happening.

Whether you smoke or not, ApneaRx is an ideal solution to help you minimise snoring and enjoy a better quality of sleep for better health and well-being.

Explore how ApneaRx works and shop online for yours today.