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    Headache Triggers and Smoking

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    Smoking and second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipes can contribute to headaches for both the smoker and the non-smoker. Nicotine, one of the components of tobacco, stimulates the blood vessels in the brain to constrict (narrow). Smoking also stimulates the nerves in the back of the throat, contributing to headache pain.

    Usually, by removing the stimulus (nicotine), headaches will be relieved. Quitting smoking or reducing exposure to second-hand smoke is especially helpful for those with cluster headaches. In one study of people with cluster headaches, those who reduced their tobacco use by less than one-half pack of cigarettes per day found their headaches decreased by 50%.

    Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

    Understanding Headache -- Symptoms

    If you feel a dull, steady pain that feels like a band tightening around your head, you may have a tension headache. If you feel throbbing that begins on one side and causes nausea or sound/light sensitivity, you may have a migraine. Visual disturbances, such as flickering points of light, may precede a migraine headache. If you feel a severe pain around one red, watery eye, with nasal congestion on that side of your face, you may have a cluster headache. If you feel a steady pain in the area...

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    Allergy to smoke as well as odor sensitivity can also cause migraine headaches in some people. By avoiding situations or places where smoking occurs, headaches may be avoided.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on February 27, 2016
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