Thyroid UK
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Hashimoto's vs Smoking/Vaping

Possibly a ridiculous question.

I've seen smoking come up in conversations about Thyroid Disease. It's controversial I guess - some think it can suppress symptoms. Others think that starting or stopping is what triggered their thyroid issues.

My question simply is whether anyone has discovered either smoking or vaping to be an Antibody trigger in Hashimoto's?

I stopped smoking about 3yrs ago and it's right afterwards I started noticing my symptoms. I stopped by vaping and I still vape now. No nicotine in it. Guess it's just another habit. I just wonder if possibly it is a trigger of antibodies and wondered if anyone else ever thought the same or discovered it to be true?

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Exactly the same for me, stopped smoking, 6 months later diagnosed hashi's, stopped by vaping, still vape with no nicotine.

Levo did horrible things to me, insomnia, hair loss, amongst other things so I self med on ndt.

I'm not right, but sleep fine, and manage to work 50 hours a week, I walk around 25 miles a week.

Weight still increasing but I could probably do more diet wise.

So in answer, yes I think smoking or not smoking made a big difference!

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I am convinced also! Thanks Shona xx

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I read a white paper on smoking and thyroid a few years ago, smoking for some reason increases the T3 production so you feel well, stop smoking and T3 drops and you don't fell well. This is the reason a lot of people develop symptoms after quitting smoking. Do I want to smoke to increase T3?? No, but others might. Smoking is also 'good' for Parkinson's as it suppresses symptoms, that's why Michael J Fox smokes so much.

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Nicotine increases T3 production in the brain.

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I will be googling this for some research! Thanks x

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Not mine it don't lol

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Do you happen to have the link to the white paper? I would love to read it x

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No sorry, it was years ago and even if I kept it bookmarked it would be on a now defunct laptop.

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Hi Pamela0106, I was diagnosed with Alopecia and subsequently found out I also had Hashimotos 6 years ago. I read that autoimmune diseases are linked to genetics, environment and leaky gut (theory). It was suggested I remove some of the 'common' environmental triggers such as gluten, so i did, and I noticed my antibodies halved around about that time. Thing is, I smoked cigarettes and had done for 24 years.. so it seemed madness for me to try and clean up my exposure to environmental toxins but continue to smoke... So I quit smoking and started vaping... Eventually the same thought came to me... 'it's madness to try and clean up... and still vape (even zero nicotine) because of all the flavourings and glycerine' and so I quit vaping too (9 months ago).. I have no idea if it will have done any good or not but my health since being diagnosed with autoimmune disease has become more precious to me.

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So true! My health since being diagnosed with auto immune diseases (Hashi's and Coeliac) has meant I'm way more alert in what I consume and put in / on my body.

I am convinced my stopping tobacco and moving to vape has had some sort of trigger on my antibodies and symptoms. I just can't prove it really lol xx

I will stop. No doubt it's on the cards to quit vaping and soon too! X

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Try switching to 100% VG liquid, as many people are allergic to PG

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Already on VG ... much prefer it. Less of a throat ache with it too! Sometimes I mix 70:30 % VG vs PG but deffo prefer VG only x

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I found pg was dehydrating me

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Hi Pamela When I stop ed smoking and started vaping my thyroid eye disease got really bad. The worst it's ever been. I'm not hashi but thyroid eye disease is linked to antibodies. I have graves. When I stopped vaping and went on to nicorette inhaler it all settled down. My dentist also said that people who vape get bad gum disease like smokers. I personally would rather smoke than vape!

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Smoking has been around a long time so we probably understand more about its effects on than body than we do about vaping, which is very new. can't understand the attraction of inhaling flavoured chemicals with no tar or nicotine (I mean butterscotch - ewwwww!!) ...

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lol I love this reply

But if it helps answer your question I do it because the mixed berry taste beats the socks of tobacco breath and stinky hair and clothes.

Agree on the health risks though - so much unknown about vaping. X

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I stopped smoking several years ago after smoking from age of 16 to 43...(I just went cold turkey..didn't even use gum!.)..I didnt gain any weight whatsoever and i thought I was doing myself a big favour.....however I did start feeling not well soon after and on investigation was diagnosed with underactive thyroid and hashimotos! Sometimes I feel that crappy I wish I would never have given up(after seeing there's a connection )..but then I look at the consequences of smoking ie lung diseases,and stuggling to breathe and I'm glad I did...it's just a case of trying to get thyroid/hashi under control feeling the best I can expect.

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Reading Starfish123's contribution above, maybe smoking masks an underactive thyroid, rather than quitting causing an underactive thyroid. Any opinions?

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And, if we carry that train of thought a little further, people smoke because it masks their symptoms, and makes them feel better. But, it's not just smoking that does that, also drinking and taking drugs. People need a crutch to lean on, when they feel so bad due to under-active thyroid. Take that crutch away, and that's when they're likely to seek help for how bad they feel.

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This is interesting. From what I had believed smoking depletes the body of selenium and yet selenium is supposed to help suppress antibodies, so it's counter-intuitive that smoking would help.... I know at least a couple of people this applies to as well - so I can see where you're coming from. There may be something to gain from investigating this further - e.g. looking at population studies to see if Hashi's can be triggered by smoking and then giving up which would imply that nicotine withdrawal needs to be more effectively monitored to prevent the autoimmune 'stab in the back'.

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I smoked for 45 years and have top of the range selenium?

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Even more interesting... yet smokers are often advised to take selenium with vitamin C.

OK here's a wild theory...

Selenium is stored in the thyroid.

Maybe smoking causes us to release selenium from the thyroid which would mean more selenium in the blood which could also raise T3 levels and reduce TSH.

The thyroid would expand to capture the selenium (causing a goitre), but can't as long as a person continues to smoke.

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Not in my case. I had my thyroid gland removed! 😊

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That sort of works, because you haven't got a thyroid which'll capture free selenium. Similar to how the liver holds on to iron. I think we rely way to much on blood levels of everything. Blood vessels are just the highways of the body whereas our tissues and cells are the car parks. You can have full highways, but half empty car parks, or vice versa.

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@eeng I think you have a valid point. I was smoking pipe for years and had an enlarged goitre at the time. with no symptoms of anything. Well apart from a recurring anal fistula.

Quit smoking and all hell broke loose.

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I stopped smoking and my symptoms became much worse - off the wall for a while. I have always thought there was a definite connection.

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Yeah me too. Came out of employment and stopped smoking - packets of twenty and jazz woodbines, drinking so much and now look at me ( don't look at me)

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'John player blacks 'to golden virginia roll ups for me haha....remember woodbine though ..stuck to your lips lol!!😁

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🌿 couldn't buy my woodbines in a shop Lozzer66 - that day will come - probably as I'm being taken out, feet first...

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Haha..same here!!...🌿🌿🌿...😉

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What, you couldn't get 5 in paper bag from the corner shop when you were 10?

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HA HA HA HA HA xxx

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Hi Pamela. I'm not sure about the link between smoking and hashimoto's, there is a link to Graves supposedly. What I can tell you is that I also noticed most of my symptoms after quitting smoking. I was actually quitting smoking by vaping instead. I thought maybe the vaping caused my symptoms and I stopped that too and went to see the doctor when symptoms didn't improve. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's about 1 year after quitting smoking and 2 months after quitting vaping.

Looking back on it, I can say however, that my Hashi's is probably unrelated to smoking, but rather aggravated by it. Here's why I have come to this conclusion:

What is known is that smoking affects the endocrine system, and that long term smoking can cause nodules, hypothyroidism, and thyroid issues in general. Smoking reduces TSH levels, and interestingly it also increases FT4 and FT3 levels. So while smoking you are causing hypothyroidism, but also masking it. Which is likely why people notice their symptoms when they quit, since at that point FT4 and FT3 levels drop. Here is a study that measures exactly those levels in smokers and non-smokers (it's a very quick read):

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/169...

Now as for the vaping there's no science yet on it. And I still don't know if it's nicotine, tobacco, or something else which affects the endocrine system with cigarette smoking as I personally haven't seen that correlation made...

I would say hashi's is caused by a number of triggers; genetics and environmental factors. Many people have the antibodies, but they are under range, so not diagnosed positive or symptomatic. So most likely smoking is just one factor which pushes the disease along, possibly raising antibodies by taking a toll on the thyroid... But you likely also have the genetics, and a host of other environmental factors that contributed.

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I think that the nicotine in cigarettes suppresses appetite and raises metabolism, so might mask early hypo symptoms. It looks as though you should feel better after stopping as "Tobacco smoke contains substances that affect both the function of the thyroid and the gland itself. One of these components is cyanide which, when smoked, is converted to an anti-thyroid agent called thiocyanate" so removal of thiocyanate should increase thyroid (not good for hypers, of course). But I also found an article called "Withdrawal From Chronic Nicotine Reduces Thyroid Hormone Levels" which suggests levo to help withdrawal from smoking! ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

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It's certainly fascinating.

I gave up smoking in early 2013 in support (and fear) when hubby was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2013. Had to be done and to be honest it was a wheeze ('scuse the pun!) .....no gum or patches. Once you ride out the first few days and distract yourself when the thought "I really want a cigarette" pops into your head :)

Yes, I had thyroid symptoms before but boy I'm sure they really reared up after I gave up smoking. Before I just thought it was part of ageing and bits falling off, so to speak.

It's a cruel world....I feel SO much better for giving up yet the damn 'ashis :D

Ah well Carpe Diem!

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Guy, I can contribute to this as well; one year after quitting smoking I've got ill. Basedow, not Hashi but I've always suspected it had something to do withe it. The stress of quitting over the body may be higher than commonly understood.

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I have much the same story as you all. Sadly I've been and on again off again smoker. I've always been able to start or stop and just social smoke. The last time I quit cold turkey about a month later I was so ill, depressed and in bed for weeks. Couldn't figure out what was wrong. Looking up info led me to beleive it was the quitting (sime useful info on Stop the Thyroid Madness)

I started smoking again a year or more later and quit this summer. I almost didn't want to due to last time. I slowly weened off this time, and used a vape. I cut cigs down by 1 every week (I smoke 4-8 a day). It's been 6 weeks so far and I feel fine!

I am seeing my Dr this week and requesting blood tests and levels and will go from there!

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I "fell of the wagon" in May this year when we went on holiday to Spain, we'd both been ciggie free for 2 years (but vaping)

I felt like cr@p when I gave up last time, bad depression, and vaping was dehydrating me, but gone was the cough, wheezing and circulation problems. I know I've got to knock it on the head again, I can feel the effects of the ciggies after only 4 months back on them 😕

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My son is having thyroid issues as well he never smoked but has been vaping for about 5 months he developed tightness in his chest and heart palpitations. We took him to the er they ran a lot of blood work including thyroid tests the tests came back as him having high levels of t4 thyroid hormone. Currently waiting for endocrinologist appt. I believe the vaping is the cause not quitting smoking. The vaping is a common factor in your situation and my sons.

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Hi, its true i had the same problem after start vaping. Does your son recover now?

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Yes his t4 level has returned to just about normal range 1.8, still following up with blood work in about a month.

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Its great to hear that. Im on my treatment now

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Make sure you monitor your thyroid blood levels closely as they may return to normal as my sons did. You might want to hold off on meds to see if you recover on your own, discuss with your doctor first of course. Best of luck to you

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As of last week. So for about 3 weeks he felt anxious, chest tightness, shakes

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Hi everyone,

I stop smoking and go to vape around few months, and i start feel my leg mussle sore sometimes, untill last week in a sudden i woke up at midnight and feel my whole body mussle is weak and i cant use them at all, i cant even stand up or sit up. My family bring me to hospital then i realize im lack of potassium, and further diagnosed its my thyroid overactive, and i got hyperthyroidism now. Just discharge from hospital, Im taking medcine daily right now. Stop smoking anf start vaping brings me hyperthyroidism i guess.

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My sons potassium was low as well and also had body aches mostly in the legs. Where you using the Juul by chance?

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Im not using juul but im using mech mod vape.

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