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Smoking and Carbon Monoxide: What Are the Risks?

July 20, 2023
By Pivot
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You’ve probably heard about carbon monoxide in the context of fireplaces, cars, or gas stoves. But did you know that carbon monoxide is also present in cigarette smoke?

Carbon monoxide – an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas – is released into the body when a person smokes. Once in the body, it can lead to various short- and long-term health concerns.

Here’s everything you need to know about smoking and carbon monoxide, including the best ways to protect yourself from serious health problems.

Carbon monoxide risks from smoking

Decreased Oxygen Supply

Carbon monoxide decreases the body’s oxygen supply by interfering with hemoglobin, the protein responsible for delivering oxygen to vital organs and tissues. This lack of oxygen can contribute to various health conditions, such as:

  • respiratory issues
  • cardiovascular disease
  • impaired cognitive function

Cardiovascular Disease

Carbon monoxide in the bloodstream can lead to the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. It promotes the formation of plaques in the arteries (aka atherosclerosis), which can restrict blood flow. This also increases the risk of:

  • strokes
  • arrhythmias
  • heart attacks
  • high blood pressure
  • atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries)

Respiratory Issues

People who smoke are at an increased risk of developing respiratory problems due to inhaling harmful chemicals. Carbon monoxide can worsen matters since it reduces the lungs’ ability to oxygenate the blood adequately.  

Short-term exposure can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing, and chest pain. Prolonged exposure can increase the risk of long-term respiratory issues like recurring bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Impaired Cognitive Function

Oxygen deprivation resulting from carbon monoxide exposure can also affect brain function. Chronic exposure to carbon monoxide has been associated with:

  • memory problems
  • cognitive impairments
  • difficulty concentrating
  • decreased overall mental performance

Protecting Yourself from Carbon Monoxide

Pivot Breath Sensor

Pivot’s Breath Sensor is the first FDA-cleared device to monitor carbon monoxide from combustible cigarettes. It’s also the only FDA-cleared CO device with claims. 

Proven to increase motivation to quit by 75%, the Breath Sensor has revolutionized the tobacco cessation experience. It gives each user real-time results to monitor how much carbon monoxide is in their body.

It takes less than 15 seconds to get a reading, and all information seamlessly syncs with the Pibot app for easy tracking and management.

The Breath Sensor can be used on its own, but we recommend users take advantage of the full program using the Pivot Breathe app.

Quit Smoking

The best way to eliminate the risks associated with carbon monoxide exposure is to quit smoking

When you stop smoking, you reduce the amount of carbon monoxide entering your body. This can significantly improve your overall health and reduce the risks of other smoking-related diseases.

Reduce Smoking

Smoking cessation isn’t easy, and going “cold turkey” isn’t for everyone. So if your goal is to reduce your tobacco habits, there are ways to protect yourself and the people and pets you live with. 

First off, try to smoke as little as possible. For some, it’s helpful to do this gradually. Pivot Breathe provides users with Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), which can significantly increase a person’s chance of long-term quitting success.

Ventilate and Purify Air

If you don’t plan to quit smoking immediately, it’s vital to ventilate your living space. Open your windows to allow fresh air to flow throughout your home. But if the weather isn’t ideal, air purifiers and exhaust fans can be very beneficial. 

Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home to protect yourself and your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning.  These devices can alert you to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, giving you time to take action.

Conclusion

Smoking cigarettes poses numerous risks to your health, and carbon monoxide exposure is one often overlooked danger. Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke can lead to:

Quitting smoking is the best way to eliminate these risks, but until then, it is essential to be aware of the dangers and take steps to minimize exposure. By understanding the risks associated with carbon monoxide, smokers can make more informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Sources

Hartmann-Boyce J, et al. (2018). Nicotine Replacement Therapy Versus Control for Smoking Cessation. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6353172/

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FAQs About Smoking & Carbon Monoxide Risks

What is carbon monoxide, and where can it be found?
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Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas. It is found in fireplaces, cars, gas stoves, and cigarette smoke.

How does carbon monoxide affect the body's oxygen supply?
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Carbon monoxide interferes with hemoglobin, the protein responsible for delivering oxygen to vital organs and tissues. This results in a decreased oxygen supply to the body.

What are some health issues caused by carbon monoxide exposure due to smoking?
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Carbon monoxide exposure from smoking can lead to respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease, impaired cognitive function, and reduced oxygen supply to organs and tissues.

hat is the Pivot Breath Sensor, and how does it work?
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The Pivot Breath Sensor is the first FDA-cleared device to monitor carbon monoxide from combustible cigarettes. It provides real-time results on the amount of carbon monoxide in the body, taking less than 15 seconds for a reading, and syncs information with the Pivot Breathe app.

How can individuals protect themselves from carbon monoxide exposure when smoking?
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Individuals can reduce carbon monoxide exposure by quitting smoking, reducing smoking habits, ventilating their living spaces, using air purifiers, and installing carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.

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Looking to measure the CO in your breath?

The Breath Sensor is a great place to start

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