Singers and Smoking
Here’s the thing with smoking and singing:
Smoking won’t keep you from singing.
Smoke of any kind burns away the little hairs (cilia) that line the vocal folds. These hairs keep the vocal cords moist. When the hairs are gone the cords cannot keep moisture on them and become dry and irritated.
Over time this can lead to vocal problems and definitely mess with clarity and range. It will also be harder to sing as your cords are compromised as well as your lung capacity. It also causes mucous to form to protect the irritated area.
So you’ve got dry cords, less lung capacity and gunk in your throat. That’s enough reason to never pick up a cigarette if you sing. Especially if it’s your career. And pot is worse. One joint is equal to a whole pack of cigarettes in terms of “harshness” and dryness.
It can take as much as 2 weeks to fully recover your voice from smoking pot. It takes 2-3 days to recover from one cigarette.
Yours in voice and music,
Cari Cole’s music studio is a place where artist’s find vocal help, wisdom, health, strength and creative nurturing. Cari is committed to helping artists sustain strong and resilient voices for a lifelong career in music as well as keeping them creatively nurtured in their songwriting and careers. Cari Cole Voice & Music is also a place for young artist’s and developing artists to find their true voice as singers and songwriters.
The amount of time it will take for your voice to recover depends on
the extent of the damage that has been done. It will likely take six
months or more for significant healing to occur. In cases in which
more serious damage has occurred, the voice may never recover
Cigarette smoke is an irritant that causes edema, which is swelling of
the vocal cords. Edema causes the voice to be less clear and “husky”
or “throaty”. Smoking can also aggravate reflux, a condition that
occurs when the contents of your stomach migrate back into the
esophagus and throat, causing inflammation. The heat of the smoke is
damaging to the throat as well. In addition, smoking destroys lung function,
which reduces lungpower.
“The damage to vocal cords may not completely heal even after the smoking has ceased. Mild swelling may take six to nine months to resolve and the more significant inflammatory lesions may require surgery. Smoking is a major cause of refractory vocal nodules, since constant irritation in the throat prevents them from healing. Even with surgery there is no guarantee of recovering a desirable singing voice.
Singers who perform in smoke-filled clubs may also suffer some of the same effects. When it is not possible to avoid such situations, non-smoking performers should compensate for them by increasing their water intake and going out for fresh air between sets.
Finally, all serious singers learn how to give meticulous care to their complete vocal instrument, i.e. to both vocal cords and throat. Such attention is usually rewarded many times over. With appropriate care, the gift of voice and song may indeed endure the whole life long.”
Franoise P. Chagnon is the Director of the Voice Lab at the Montreal General Hospital
Resources to help you quite smoking.
Dr. Jane Maati Smith C.Hyp. Msc.D. (Artist) | Format: Audio CD
Find tools to help you quit · Talk to an expert · Get more free resources. Find a study near you · Learn about smoking in your state.
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Review by Sharon R.
No need for a long review here. About the first three quarters of the book is spent exploding various myths and delusions about smoking (such as smoking relaxing you or getting rid of stress), which sets you up and gets you into the right frame of mind for actually quitting. At this point, the book wants you to continue smoking while you read it. In a nutshell, the easy way to stop smoking involves two things: one, deciding you are never going to smoke again, and two, don’t mope about it anymore, rejoice. Sounds too simple, but after reading the first part of the book, this strategy will make more sense to you.
Lastly, the book cites two main reasons why you will fail: the influence of other smokers, and having a bad day. Having been around for 20 some years and being able to refine it with twenty years of feedback, I feel like this is one of the better books out there on non-smoking.
For more information on keeping your voice healthy and preventing damage, experience my Singers Gift Warm ups and Cool Downs and do it right from the start!