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Does Smoking Really Help Ulcerative Colitis?

OK, has been a while since I posted an update.

I have had a few bad weeks, especially since my current GI doctor prescribed Imuran. I started to have uncontrollable movements and felt like I am falling apart. I decided to stop the Imuran last weekend and felt an immediate improvement. Last Monday I went to see Dr. Hanauer at the University of Chicago. This guy is the bomb. Extremely positive and has experience that is out of the box. So, after reviewing my case, he flat told me to start smoking 3-5 cigarettes per day and I will be in remission faster than I have ever been. Yes, I am fully aware of all the side effects, but truth is, I started last Monday with 20-25 movements per day, and today I am down to 5!!!!! I am more willing to cut off a few years at the end if I have the quality of life until I get there. I also cut down on the Prednisone from 60mg/day to 30mg/day right now and can’t say I ever felt better in months.  I have my family back and my normal life, can go to work again and don’t have to be afraid to soil myself several times per day. I am discussing the use of Humira with him next week and sure hope to stop taking that as well, too. GO SMOKE!!!!

-UC Man


Dr. Hanauer’s doctor review


518 Responses to Does Smoking Really Help Ulcerative Colitis?

  1. Julie August 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    It does suck. I HATE it. Thank you for talking to me. Even that helps me feel a little better. I’m gong to go on a fast for 3 days, and only drink water to see if that works. It used to work wonders for me. Thank you for the prayers. We all need them! I wish you well on your journey too.,

    • Lewis G
      moneyball August 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

      I agree, that talking to someone who is going through the same thing is helpful, so thanks to you too. How do you find the three days of only water to get through?

  2. Julie August 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    It is very difficult to fast– just horrible. You feel very bad because basically you are detoxing from everything all at once. Your body cleans out all the trash it’s been holding for so long. It’s hard, but it allows the colon a good rest. I have a friend who says the colon heals very fast with no food irritating it. (He’s researched this stuff a lot) I used to just fast periodically when I was younger, and I would completely heal, but now that I’m older, I guess it doesn’t work so well. I will try fasting and smoking at the same time to see if anything happens. I don’t have much of a choice at this point. :)

  3. Lewis G
    moneyball August 11, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

    True enough! I should give that a try….well i am currently on prednisone and have to take it with food but will remember it for the future if i flare again.

  4. Julie August 11, 2015 at 7:02 pm #

    I understand! :) Well, I’m off to bed…best wishes to you.

  5. Lewis G
    moneyball August 11, 2015 at 7:03 pm #

    You too.

  6. Peter September 29, 2015 at 12:14 pm #

    Smoked for ~10 years, quit, was diagnosed with (severe) left-sided UC approx. 4 months later (was about 30 years old).

    Dealt with all the symptoms for ~3 years while on Mezavant and prednisone (only for relief of flare-ups).

    The pharma drugs didn’t work all that well since my UC was quite severe, and the next set of drugs they wanted me on were pretty brutal with a looooong list of potential (probable) side-effects. The first drug was Imuran. I read the side-effects (cancer to name one) and just knew there had to be another way.

    Enter the internets. Found some people on a message board (similar to this site) who had shared their stories regarding smoking and UC. Their stories were identical to mine. I started with the patch one day, and no word of a lie, within 15 minutes of applying the patch all my hunger came flying back. Colour in my face was restored. It was amazing to say the least. Kept on with the patch for approx. a month with about ~90% of my symptoms having been resolved. Was a very tough decision, but I bought myself a pack of cigs. Have been smoking 3-4 a day for ~3 years now and not a single symptom has reared its ugly head. Not once. Bowel movements are A-OK. Everything is good to go.

    Just thought I’d share my story. THe potential (probable) side-effects from the pharma drugs were too much for me. Studies have shown that smoking less than 5 cigs a day is negligible to your long-term health. So with that in hand, smoking 3-4 cigs vs taking a list of pharma’s was a no-brainer. Gives me my quality of life back without all the pharma drug side-effects. Just treat the smoking like a medication, and don’t let it get out of hand. I usually have a smoke at 9am, again at 3pm, and again at 9pm. Roughly every 6 hours during my day. This keeps me in check. Last thing you want is to become (possibly again) a pack-a-day smoker, ’cause that just opens up a whole new can of worms.

  7. Marianne October 28, 2015 at 12:43 am #

    Hi everyone. Does anybody here know of a possibility for getting CO (carbonmonoxide) without smoking? Either as a medication or another way? I find that smoking 4-5 cigs a day combined with SCD diet totally keeps my colitis in remission, while nicotine patches, nictoine gum, vapor with nicotine and WTA (whole tobacco alkaloids) don’t make a difference. I don’t want to stick my head in the fire place :-), but I would love an alternative to smoking, maybe some kind of an inhaler. Thanks a lot and have a wonderful, fart free, one solid poop day everone

  8. Graham from England
    Graham October 28, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Marianne,

    A gentleman commented (link below) on how he has got off the cigarettes for a considerable period. He reports an alternative that may replicate some of the positive smoking effects. It may interest you

    • Marianne November 8, 2015 at 1:36 am #

      Thanks Graham. Being on the SCD diet, adding a starch might not be what I want, but I’ll look into it. Maybe there are other foods which do the same thing

  9. Lewis G
    moneyball October 29, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    Tried the smoking for a couple of months, close to half a pack a day. Got my colon removed because it didnt help me. Feel amazing now.

  10. Graham from England
    Graham November 6, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    This may or may not be the smoking gun for colitis and tobacco but I have no doubt it will be the reason for some of you.

    For 17 years I’ve been through this stopping then having to start again. Well they just found a heavy parasite infestation. When you search this subject you quickly realise tobacco effectively controls many parasites. It does not kill them off entirely but they will die off considerably.

    Interestingly, parasites love sugar which is also a bit of a no no for us. So if sugar increases your symptoms and smoking reduces them maybe you could try a parasite cleanse? EVOO is also in the charts for dealing with these so it may also explain some of those benefits.

    Think you don’t have parasites? Most people do in fact. If you were in a 3rd world country they would suspect it but not in the clean industrial world. Parasites are rarely seen in the small intestine where they reside. Colonoscopy and endoscopy fails most times and even a specific stool test will be negative. I know its small intestine and we all have proctitis or inflammation in the sygmoid to begin with but trust me. It will affect distal areas

    I will post more information on this soon.

  11. Sal February 18, 2016 at 8:11 am #


    Thanks for posting a lot.

    Doesn’t smoking increase the risk of Crohn’s?

    Also, for a person who was an occasional smoker (2-3 cigarettes) a week, how many would it take on a daily basis after their first flare to make it go away?

  12. Sal February 18, 2016 at 8:19 am #


    One more question, for how long have you been smoking?

  13. Graham from England
    Graham February 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

    Hi Sal,

    Recently I have found the statement “smoking makes Crohns worse” to be slightly arguable. The statistics don’t lie but that’s not the entire picture in my opinion. As I understand it UC is mainly a TH2 immune response and Crohns TH1. Smoking reduces the TH2 response. I think it unlikely that you can switch easily from one to the other though some with UC do end up with Crohns. I have unknowingly had hookworm for years, these reside in the small intestine and damage it though also provide some anti inflammatory benefit there. Many parasites provoke a TH2 response and this is the bodies mechanism against them. So perhaps my UC was a TH2 response and caused by them, I wait to find out. When I took the drugs and they left (hopefully entirely) I bled heavy from the small intestine and it was smoking that actually stopped it. I was in fear that as my small intestine was involved in a Crohns kind of way that cigarettes wouldn’t work. Phew!

    5 cigarettes a day seems to be the magic number. You could likely heal quicker by smoking more but you then end up more addicted. It usually took me a couple of weeks to stop the bleeding but I rarely let a flare get out of hand.

    I smoked from 16 and then found out I had UC after quitting around 9 years later. I must have quit around 20 times now, hopefully one day for good.

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