How Smoking Affects Your Voice

Smoking has many negative effects on your health, one of which is causing long-term damage to your vocal cords.  According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, or NIDCD, “Smoking is a form of vocal cord abuse.”

Frequent damage to the vocal cords can result in changes in the way your voice works and sounds. In some instances, damages may lead to the loss of your voice or chronic laryngitis.

Smoking also leads to more serious illnesses such as cancer which can develop on your larynx or voice box.  Laryngeal cancer can spread to other parts of the body such as the back of the tongue and your lungs.   Smokers are more at risk of premature death caused by laryngeal cancer than non-smokers.

Symptoms of this form of cancer include:

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Constant coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble breathing

There are several treatments available, one of which is surgically removing the larynx.   After surgery, you will not be able to speak or breathe in the usual way. Instead, breathing will be made possible by way of a permanent hole in your neck (stoma).  Speech may be aided by using an artificial larynx.

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make for your health.  Smokers are at greater risk of developing illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. However, quitting can reduce your risk and put you on a path to better health.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Flushing Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. Flushing Hospital’s Medical Home Department has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program. Classes are forming. For more information or to register, call: 718 206 8494

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.