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Smoking May Trigger Eye and Nose Symptoms with Migraine

If smoking cigarettes can trigger cluster headaches with its symptoms of red and runny eyes and nose, could smoking also activate those same symptoms in people with migraine? That’s the question Todd D. Rosen, MD asked when he analyzed information from migraine patients at a headache clinic.

Drooping eyelids, red and tearing eyes, and running noses are called autonomic symptoms and many migraineurs get them. Dr. Rozen theorized that smoking may lower the autonomic threshold for people with migraine as well as cluster headache, and his data bears him out.

“Some 70% of migraineurs with a positive history of cigarette smoking had cranial autonomic symptoms along with their headaches, while only 42% of the nonsmoking patients experienced at least 1 autonomic symptom along with headaches,” he wrote in the journal Headache.

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