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what happens to singers that smoke?

well what's the answer?


  • ragnarragnar Pro Posts: 410
    I think generally their voices get lower and the vocal folds lose their elasticity to some degree, which is probably why you often hear them having chronically raspy shouty vocals as they age. Everything is multi-factorial though, so the amount of smoking and their general singing technique would be big factors.
    More importantly I would say though, is the statistical likelihood of them slowly dying from chronic obstructive lung disease, or quickly from lung cancer.
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,333
    The act of smoking reduces lung capacity, irritates the lungs to cause coughing at the very least, and dries the vocal cords. 
  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
    i was reading about a band singer losing his high notes. he didnt smoke but his gigs were always smoke filled places. so thwr band slowed down. and soon the singer was back in top shape.
    just curious as i smoke. how badly it effects singing and otger people own experience with it agreed or not.
    thx for your comments

  • JosephJoseph Pro Posts: 260
    What happens to anyone who smokes?
    Smokers drag hot, poisonous, chemically-laced, carcinogenic air straight over their vocal cords and deep into their lungs.
    Further, Yellow teeth, Yellow fingers, aged skin, and a strain on your wallet.
    Australian laws are some of the most progressed regarding cigarettes/smoking. No sales to minors. A packet probably costs $15.No smoking indoors in public areas, including bars, clubs, band venues, restaurants.
    Steve do yourself a favour, not just for your voice.
  • Johan_KaleviJohan_Kalevi Pro Posts: 171
    @Steve Kindig

    Hi Steve - nice to meet you!

    Have you ever looked into e-cigarettes?

    I've been off tobacco since Feb.13/2013.  Creeping up on my one year anniversary of quitting.

    I've found that using e-cigs is one fine alternative to smoking.  There are no reported carcinogens and what you inhale and exhale is a glycerine-based vapor. 

    In China these things are everywhere - as I believe they were invented here, but I've noticed that there is a building market in the US for the devices.

    Hope you can quit, man!  I've never felt better.

    I quit the habit after 16 years.



  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
    @johan_kalevi are you still using the e cigarette? and have you noticed better vocal health? wondered the effects on the cords?
  • Johan_KaleviJohan_Kalevi Pro Posts: 171
    edited February 2014

    Hi Steven!

    Yes, I am still using the device.  I noticed after a few months of quitting smoking, I stopped getting that "gurgling lung" syndrome.  You know that wheezing, whistling, bubbling kinda sound when you're just laying down to bed? 

    With the e-cig, it's never come back.

    Apart from my voice feeling noticeably clearer and my lungs having more capacity, the only side effect from the e-cig is an acute decrease in lung capacity (lasts about 10 minutes) - I try to avoid singing during that time. (but I'll be honest, I take a few chugs when I'm doing the scales sometimes lol Probably a symptom of not feeling comfortable breathing/supporting properly yet - so I grab old faithful for a hit)

    As for as the effects on the voice and vocal cords, I've only noticed that my voice has become cleaner and less hoarse as time goes on.  I'd say that, as long as I'm not under the weather, I have more of a sense of reliability in my voice.  When I smoked (20-30/day) I'd have 'ok' days and 'not-so-good' days - meaning I couldn't trust that my voice would be consistent for a 45-60 minute set without some huge peaks or valleys.

    I do recommend it as an alternative to smoking, Steve - and a bridge to being completely nicotine-free.  You can buy lower doses of the nicotine juice right down to zero mg.

    Apart from sounding like an info-mercial (haha) good luck, man!  I hope you can get away from that vile, radiated plant :-)


  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
    i actually been half using the e-cig since mid january. now i have half a sore throat. higher notes are sounding clearer. and real cigs are tasting nastier. so gonna be real cig free.

    i thnik its where all my probs stem except for old bad techniques/straining.
  • Johan_KaleviJohan_Kalevi Pro Posts: 171
    Best of luck to you Steve-O!

    I can relate - not only the taste, but just the smell of 'analog' (haha) cigarettes chokes me up these days.  People could be standing 20-30 ft. away from me at a bus stop and I find myself coughing because of their second-hand smoke.

    So many flavours out there to enjoy, man - and even more songs than flavours! :D


  • vikingviking Pro Posts: 5
    Hey all. I'm new here as of today,
    Been a smoker like forever, 49 year old, and love to sing with all my heart.
    Hence the reason that i joined, need some real training as I have never had any.
    I as well am starting this weekend on an E-Cig. Set the date and that will be it. Sick and tired of sounding like Brian Johnson, no offense to Brian, but used to have no hoarseness, now its there all the time.
    My question is, Will it go away eventually? Will I get back the High notes that I lost?

    Cheers all and Peace out!


  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
    i have not been on as long as johan but in a daily bacis my sore throat is gradually going away. and i smoke on it alot.
  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
    also the way ktva teaches. your singing technique will increase the likelyhood of not straining and getting hoarse double wammy dude gl luck to you @viking
  • vikingviking Pro Posts: 5
    Cheers Steven! Thanks for your reply, and all the best to you as well!
  • rabctakhrabctakh Pro Posts: 10
    edited April 2014

    @Viking. Funny you should mention Brian Johnson from AC/DC, I started singing because I sounded exactly like him when Back In Black came out. Somehow I stumbled upon being able to do that voice without any strain at all. I was a 15 year old kid who looked like a girl with long hair, then my mouth would open and people would be like "HOLLY CRAP!!!". I am not looking to sing like AC/DC these days, in fact I probably couldn't pull it off anymore anyway lol. I am leaning into singing like Brent Smith from Shinedown,  and wouldn't mind also getting those super high notes that other singers have.
    Years of smoking very heavy made it harder and harder to sing in that voice, and I didn't really know how to do anything else. I gave up smoking over 3 years ago after over 35 years of smoking, I am 48 now. A few months ago I was in my car and Silent Lucidity came on the radio, I sang along and found out I didn't gag and cough like an idiot for the first time in years. I ran to Home Depot with a pickup truck and bought enough crap to build a mini studio, I also bought the KTVA program which was the best investment I ever made for myself. I still suck really bad, but I am learning and working hard. I have a great voice to build upon thanks to quitting smoking, and humbly admit I couldn't do it with Ken Tamplin teaching me how.

  • SteveKSteveK Pro Posts: 556
  • LasoLaso Pro Posts: 28
    Well, now finally as a ´former´ smoker I think I can easily compare the difference of a smoking and non-smoking singer. I haven´t been smoking for 4 months so far.

    When you wake up you don´t feel that grip in your throat anymore and you can breath easily . That goes the same for the rest of the day. However, there´s no problem to sing anytime you want - your voice experiences new freedom - chest -> head voice? No problem! Any time a day! 
    It doesn´t take so long to warm-up and you definitely don´t have to put as much effort into it.

    The point is - when I used to smoke I thought there was nothing wrong with me. But I couldn´t be further from the truth. For those who still hesitate to stop smoking... Do it! It is possible! And this new world, the world where you value and are grateful for your health, where you don´t let smoking deteriorate your singing... it makes sense to fight for it.

    Wish you good luck... and strong will.

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,333

    Good words, Vlad!



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