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Testing the effects of cigarette smoking on the severity of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Original Article By: Lee et al., 2022

Summarized By: Neurobit

The sleep disorder obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is very common among individuals. It is characterized by the interruption of breathing during sleep due to some obstruction of the airway. This can result in snoring, daytime sleepiness, and an array of other health problems.

Nicotine, a stimulant drug prevalent in cigarettes, has been found to promote the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This obstruction to the natural release of the neurotransmitter can result in insomnia and poor sleep in many individuals. In addition, the other ingredients in cigarettes cause smoking to have negative effects on the respiratory system. While the effects of smoking on the prevalence of OSA are not proven, the current study by Sujin Lee, Min Jae Seong, and Eun Yeon JooLee (2022) aims to investigate the correlation between the two.

The study investigated the effects of smoking on OSA in 1,163 patients who underwent polysomnography. The study found that smokers had a higher apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and oxygen desaturation index (ODI), as well as higher arousal index and severe daytime sleepiness, compared to non-smokers. The number of cigarettes smoked per day and the duration of smoking was not correlated with the AHI. However, after adjusting for other factors, the study found that smoking was a risk factor for the ODI and that AHI was independent of smoking. These findings suggest that smoking may be associated with OSA, but further research is needed to confirm this.


Lee, S., Seong, M. J., & Joo, E. Y. (2022). The Oxygen Desaturation Index for Severity Assessment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Associated With Cigarette Smoking. J Sleep Med, 19(3), 153–159.

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