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%.
The first step to preventing migraines is to avoid triggers. These often include:
High blood pressure
Hormonal birth control pills
Low blood sugar
Although dietary triggers – such as caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners -- can cause other types of migraines; they seem less likely to trigger ocular migraines.