Crohn's Disease Forum » General IBD Discussion » Has quitting smoking really inproved your life with Crohn's?

08-19-2010, 08:35 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2010
Has quitting smoking really inproved your life with Crohn's?

Hi All,

I am very well aware of the fact, smoking cigarettes is not health nor a smart choice for anyone!!! BUT i so enjoy it. It is really the only thing I have complete control of doing. Not a good excuse, but i think everyone needs some sort of vice. I do truly enjoy and get much relaxation from having a smoke.
However, i am certain that there are people on this forum that have quit and I would be interested to hear if it had any major positive results and how they did so. Thank you
08-19-2010, 08:42 AM   #2
Chris1984's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
i quit for a little over 6 months last year, i saw no difference what so ever. i started again cuz i had a very bad doctor appt and i was pretty pissed off so i needed one to calm down.
i saw a big difference when i quit drinking though..
Diagnosed with Crohn's, GERD with eosinophilic esophagitis, diverticulosis and kidney stones in 2009/2010 but have had symptoms my whole life. Symptoms currently under control. My Story
Current Med List
Prednisone, Dexilant, Probiotics, Vitamin B12 and D3, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium, Legal Medical Marijuana, Ultram and Flexeril.
Tried Meds
Xifaxan - did absolutely nothing
Pentasa - put me in the hospital with abdominal pain.
Entocort EC - pretty much did nothing.
08-19-2010, 10:24 AM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: United Kingdom
I quit in December. Really if anything, my crohns is worse. Unless I'm just paying more attention to it now that I don't have cigarettes to divert myself with!
08-19-2010, 10:28 AM   #4
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scifi-enthusiast's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: McAllen, Texas
I quit when I was diagnosed. I was only smoking 1 or 2 a day so it wasn't that hard. But I did notice that I had more money, when I had a job.
Diagnosis: March 2008 (7 days after resection)
Surgery: 1 emergency blind resection because of hemorrhage & massive blood loss (March 2008), Reconnection of Colon (June 2008), Removal of billiard ball size abscess (Dec. 2010)
Meds: Lialda-2.4gm (every other day), Imuran-0mg, Pred-0mg, Calcium+d, Humira-40mg, Sulfasalazine-500mg
Previous Meds: Pentasa (didn't work)
Currently on SSD & SSI
08-19-2010, 10:52 AM   #5
Jennifer's Avatar
Haha, yes you will have more money. :P Usually smoking makes me need to use the bathroom fairly instantly because it is a stimulant and does stimulate your bowels. I'd even need to go as soon as I had my jacket on before I even lit one up. :P Once I quit, I only had regular urgency and not smoking induced urgency.

I used two things to help me quit. The first, I bought an electronic cigarette that you can buy cartridges for, they contain high amounts of nicotine to no nicotine (also has medium and low). I believe I got it from but there are other sites that sell them. They use vapor instead of smoke so you can even use them inside which is great for when its cold or raining out or deathly hot. :P It was hard to get used to at first because there's no end to the cigarette so you don't get that sense of completion but if you time it to the length of a normal cigarette you get used to it.

The second was asking my boyfriend to help me quit. I asked him to not scratch my back that day whenever I had a cigarette so I had to choose between scratches or smoking and I usually get scratches daily and I love my scratches. Later we changed it to whenever I used the electronic cigarette I wouldn't get scratches. Now I don't do either. I do smoke cloves now (I used to smoke Camel filters) on occasion when I'm drinking (cause I like to have a smoke when I drink) but I don't drink often anymore (maybe once every three months) but when I do, I still don't get scratches. I quit smoking cigarettes almost a year ago now.

That worked for me so maybe you could find something similar if you don't get scratches maybe you get something else you like that can be taken away.
Diagnosis: Crohn's in 1991 at age 9
Surgeries: 1 Small Bowel Resection in 1999; Central IV in 1991-92
Meds for CD: 6MP 75mg
Things I take: Tenormin 25mg (PVCs and Tachycardia), Junel (endometriosis), Tylenol 3 (Osteoarthritis), Zantac 150mg 2/day (acid reflux), Klonopin 1mg (Panic Disorder), Imitrex 25mg (migraines), Zofran 8mg (nausea)
Currently in: REMISSION Thought it was a flare but it's just scar tissue from my resection. Dealing with a stricture. Remission from my resection, 19 years and counting.

Last edited by Jennifer; 08-19-2010 at 10:55 AM.
08-19-2010, 11:23 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2006
I quit 3 years ago. Has it made a difference with the crohn's, not really. Sometimes I think if I was still smoking then maybe I would be handling the stress of the crohn's better. Yet even as I say this, there most likely is a benefit or should be.
08-19-2010, 12:07 PM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2010

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I smoked for 47 years and quit two years ago.. It has in fact helped in the absorption process due to more oxygen reaching areas of the GI tract. But the real reason I quit was watching friends die young, struggle with their breathing, and living miserable cancer ridden last year or two.. We don't need any more misery than we already have to deal with...
08-19-2010, 01:23 PM   #8
Join Date: Aug 2010
Thanks all for you information and input.
@ Crabbyrelish- I have seen the electronic Cigs. They say that the water vapor feels like you are smoking a real cig, do you agree??? It is worth a try i guess. Worse that happens is it doesn't work for me. I have decided to make the effort to start but cutting my smoking in half. I do indeed know I do not "need" a cig every time I lite one up. So as I do my research and find what product may be the best option for me, I will use a little self control.

Thanks again and if anyone else has used something that has aided them, feel free to clue me in.
08-19-2010, 04:31 PM   #9
Jennifer's Avatar
Its similar to a regular cig. Water vapor feels a little different because it isn't smoke so it isn't as harsh. You can still feel it though and isn't like breathing plain air. I wouldn't suggest switching cold turkey but switch slowly like use it instead of your bedtime cig or last cig of the day and gradually replace your other cigs with it. If you switch fully like I did at first, you may give up on it (I stopped using it for a month after I first tried it) because it takes some getting used to.

I have the Bumblebee (M401) from
08-19-2010, 06:19 PM   #10
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Every time I see a new dr they tell me that I would feel much better if I stop smoking and drinking. In wish that I smoke and drink so that could actually give it up to feel better. When I tell them that I don't they go quiet. Hmm. My brother has crohns and he smokes like a factory. He recently reduced the amount he smokes and said he feels better . It's worth trying.
08-19-2010, 07:54 PM   #11
Join Date: Jan 2010
I smoked for 30+ years and when I quit 2 1/2 years ago is when I began to have the very first beginnings of my tummy problems.

Just sayin'.
08-20-2010, 04:21 AM   #12
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I am like JOEUK Never smoked, never drank (seriusly I didnt een had champagne at my wedding, I hate alcohol). And yet the VERY first suggestion from everydoctor I ever visited in my life was "quit smoking".

When my doct heard that I was in pain the first thing he said was "Do you still smoke?" I said "I am not smoking and never have been and I told you that the very first minute you saw me"

08-20-2010, 09:37 AM   #13
glum chump
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The doctors also recommended for me to stop smoking, and that was one of the first things I set out to do after I was diagnosed. However, I went from having 15-20 BMs to about 25+. The pain also intensified. At first, I thought that perhaps some of the 'sucking in' of cigarettes and the way I breathe when I'm smoking may have been helpful, so while I was not smoking, I tried to imitate the breathing I would do while smoking. That didn't help. I also tried breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, nothing. The pain was waaay worse and frequency of BMs stayed up. After five weeks, I had a cigarette, and the pain went way down. As did my BMs.

Over the last ten years, I've tried quitting several times with the same results. When I quit when I was in remission, my remission ended/went back into a flare about six days after I quit smoking. Don't know if there's a correlation, but I do know that something in my belly region responds to smoking. It sucks 'cause I'm actually quite 'done' with smoking and would like to quit for a whole lot of other reasons.

Interestingly, I have a nurse-friend who has UC, and she says that smoking is sometimes really helpful around the symptoms of UC, but not for Crohns. She smokes to calm her symptoms as well.
08-20-2010, 12:03 PM   #14
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Nottingham, UK
I did cut right down, but relapsed on holiday. I do find that smoking makes my tummy feel tight for a couple of minutes, but I don't know if there is any difference in the way I feel generally (if that makes sense).
Crohn's in the terminal ileum, dxed Jun '10

125mg azathioprine
4g Pentasa
08-21-2010, 05:28 AM   #15
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It seems smokers with UC or crohn's generally speaking get worse if they try to quit!! It makes no sense to me but I'm curious if any of you have ever tried the patch or nicotine gum and how they may have affected your IBD?
Mark, father of EJ

EJ dx w/ Crohn's 12/09
PSC 3/10

No more 6mp
Currently in the Humira Club
08-21-2010, 07:20 AM   #16
Crohn's 35
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Join Date: Oct 2009
I wasn't a heavy smoker but I was on and off since I was a teen. The smoking thing back then was not taboo, but now... I quit 2002 in August, just before my second resection. I was told that anaesethia is far more dangerous if you smoke and I was pretty ill at the time and figured it was time. Since then I rarely get colds or flu. It was 7 years after my resection before my first cold. Smoking depletes Vitamin C, and being female and female problems also deplete vitamin C. I am so glad I quit and I guarantee that I will never go back. I got my husband of many years of smoking to quit smoking.

Like it has been said why add to the misery of this diesease. If you think it isnt doing you any harm.... time will tell. Babies and animals get second and 3rd hand smoke, isnt good them either.

I used the patch at first, but not at night, too many vivid dreams. Besides I didnt smoke in the night. You have to want to quit, not because you have been told to, or because they are expensive, WANTING is going to make it easier, with time. Good luck for those who try!!
08-21-2010, 08:40 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
my crohns improves hugely when i do not smoke. i'm just horrible at quittng, i SO struggle with addiction. i've been on the patch for 2 months. ugh! i know...i just need to make it through all those nicotine receptors frying and then i'll be fine
walking talking toxbox of meds with unstoppable d.
perianal fistula surgery in July. azathioprine 150mg, lialda, celexa, birth control, multivit, vit e, calcuim, pantothenic acid
currently on a round of cipro, flagyl, tramadol, reglan

i am a wife, a working mother, and a moon goddess wonder woman. crohns can kiss it
08-21-2010, 11:36 AM   #18
Jennifer's Avatar
It seems smokers with UC or crohn's generally speaking get worse if they try to quit!!
Even if that is true, it doesn't change the fact that smoking puts a strain on the rest of your body and can cause more unneeded problems. That's why I quit. Doing it in moderation is fine but a daily habit can be problematic.
08-23-2010, 07:25 AM   #19
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Norristown, Pennsylvania
I have been in flare for almost 2 years.

Once, about a year and half and ago, I quit, and check this out: Within 24 hours, I was down to about 1 solid BM a day....formed, clean, that would make an 8-year old boy proud.

But I was an idiot. I started to feel good again, and when I feel good, I tend to celebrate in stupid ways, and started smoking again. Guess what? Symptoms came back.

And never could get that remission back again, even when I tried to quit again, didn't help.

This has been the summer of hell for me. Flare got worse, was put on prednisone tapers twice, (added to Asacol, which wasn't doing jack for me), picked up a UTI, anti-biotic induced C-Diff infection, probably wasn't even a UTI, but prostratitis instead now diagnosed, but because of C-Diff, had to take Flagyl for a week (sUCKED!!!!), and Cipro "just in case" it was UTI again. Almost cancelled vacation with kids.

I'm now in Florida enjoying a vacation with daughters.
Having 1-2 SOLID BM a day!
Flare went away at the 11th hour before we left.

What gives? I can't say for sure, but here is what I can tell you:

1. I've been smoke-free for 2 months.
2. I've been nearly alcohol free for 1 month.
3. I've been nearly caffeine free for 1 month.
4. Finished off all anti-biotics day before we left. (not on purpose mind you...just worked out that way).
5. Stopped taking Asacol day before we left. (Doc's order).
5. Started taking Digestive Advantage for Crohn's and Colitis Probiotic 2 days before we left. (Not docs's order).

I'm feeling better than I have in almost 2 years. I hope it holds.

I want to put all the credit towards the probiotic, but there were too many variables involved last week to say anything worthwhile scientific: I stopped Asacol, stopped anti-biotics, stool test said C-diff was negative, so Flagyl must've worked, stopped Cipro, started splitting Prednisone -- take half in morning, other half in afternoon.

But I still think it's weird about that episode last year when I quit smoking and I cleared up within 24 hours.

Last edited by DadMan; 08-23-2010 at 07:27 AM. Reason: typo

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