Although you might not want to talk about it… And you probably don’t even really want to admit to it... It’s a fact of life. Yep, we all gotta poop. It’s a crucial biological function that rids your body of unnecessary waste to keep you healthy. 

But have you ever felt the urge to go after smoking a cigarette? If so, you are not alone. So why does smoking make you poop?

How often should you poop?

There are no hard and fast rules about how many times you should poop a day. The frequency of bowel movements can vary dramatically between individuals. Anything between three times a day to three times a week is considered to be normal. The frequency can change depending on your diet and other factors too. 

Are you a regular?

Some people tend to poop around the same time each day. It might be after getting out of bed in the morning or after your main meal in the evening. Some people are just creatures of habit in the bathroom department. 


Other pooping schedules fluctuate and bathroom trip times are less predictable. It can also vary depending on what you’ve been eating, your activity levels and even your hormones. Generally speaking, everyone is different and if you are feeling healthy with it, then it’s probably right for you. If you often feel bloated or have other digestive difficulties, then something might be amiss.  


Some people have an overwhelming fear of pooping in public. The thought of using a public bathroom can cause a cold sweat, panic attacks or just plain horror. It’s true, the state of public toilets can be somewhat questionable… But when you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go. 


Sufferers may be experiencing a psychological condition called parcopresis. Otherwise known as shy bowel syndrome. It’s when people are simply not prepared to poop in public loos. They prefer to hold their urge and wait until they return home or are in a safe and private location. 

Why it’s good to let it go

Once in a while it’s important to hold it in - fairground rides, job interviews and playing sports could turn nasty if you don't. But suppressing the urge to go isn’t recommended. It can lead to more serious problems than embarrassment around a public poop. Releasing your bowels enables them to function optimally. If you make a habit of holding it, constipation of even faecal impaction can result.

Smoking and digestion

Smoking doesn’t just increase the urge to poop. It also affects your entire gastrointestinal tract. That means smokers are more at risk from a number of gastrointestinal related conditions. Let’s take a look at some of the potential issues for smokers and their digestive system


Smoking can increase the uncomfortable symptoms of digestion. These include gas and cramps along with stomach pain. This is because smoking causes a build up of acid in your stomach. Stronger stomach acid is produced by smokers than non-smokers. 


That horrible sensation of burning in your chest? The uncomfortable feeling is actually stomach acid leaking back up to your oesophagus. It can be caused by smoking or even exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood of heartburn as the chemicals in cigarettes increase the amount of stomach acid produced. The nicotine also relaxes the esophageal muscle, which means the acid can easily leak through it.

Colon and stomach cancer

Smoking isn’t just a risk factor for lung cancer, cancers affecting the colon are more likely for smokers. The chemicals present in tobacco damage the DNA of cells. If this damage occurs in the digestive tract, cancer can develop. Nicotine increases the production of free radicals. These are unstable atoms that can damage the cells in your body. This can lead to the development of tumours as they destroy the enzymes designed to protect against cancer.

Peptic ulcers

Peptic ulcers are holes in the stomach wall. They are caused when the lining of the stomach gets irritated. Smoking increases your risk of developing peptic ulcers due to the chemicals present in smoke. They are also difficult to heal if you continue to smoke.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It causes painful sores and swelling in the gut. Research suggests that the risk of Crohn's disease is increased for smokers. It can also make the condition worse. It is thought that the chemicals in tobacco upset the bacteria balance in the gut which can lead to Crohns. 

Why does smoking make you poop?

The simple answer to this fascinating question is the addictive chemical nicotine. Yep, that pesky chemical in cigarettes is to blame. The nicotine binds to receptors in your bowels. This stimulates the muscles which contract and push the contents of your bowels (the poop) along. This action creates that intense ‘gotta go’ feeling. 

When pooping goes bad

Sadly, the habit of smoking doesn’t just make you feel like you need to go. It can have a severe laxative effect and contribute to diarrhoea. On the other hand, it can lead to constipation too. It’s important to try and maintain your gut health and keep your bowels healthy.

How to keep your bowels healthy

  • Stop smoking - smoking disrupts your natural bowel function, so saying no to nicotine is definitely a great start. There are so many nicotine-free options if you want to start the transition to being smoke-free. Our ripple+ nicotine-free diffusers can help smooth the journey. The luxurious scents and aromatherapy oils deliver a sense of calm and peace. 
  • Stay hydrated - it might sometimes feel like a chore, but getting the optimum amount of H2O in your system does wonders for your health. And, yes, that includes your digestion. Water keeps everything flowing smoothly and keeps your bowels working in tip top condition.
  • Eat the fibre - Fibre-filled foods are fantastic for getting things moving along nicely. Make sure you include a range of beans, vegetables and nuts in your diet. 
  • Get good bacteria - you might have heard about the gut being your body’s second brain. The gut-brain connection means the state of your gut has a huge influence on your health, happiness and wellbeing. Making sure you get some good bacteria is as easy as eating some fermented foods and getting a varied diet.


The bottom line

The bottom line is - smoking can have a laxative effect on the body. For some people, smoking makes you poop. To avoid this happening, try ditching the nicotine and see if you notice a difference. ripple+ aromatherapy diffusers have always been proudly nicotine-free. You can experience the pleasure of smoking without any sudden urges after inhaling. Not in the toilet department anyway.