This article reviews those skin diseases that are specifically caused by cigarette or tobacco smoking and improves or resolves after cessation of the cigarette smoking or tobacco intake.

Smoker’s melanosis

Smoker melanosis or oral melanosis is a harmless condition that is caused by cigarette smoking. It is characterized by pigmentation of the oral mucosa and present as grayish-brown macular lesion which is caused by tar deposition. It is also suggested that certain component of tobacco smoke stimulates melanin production.

Contact Dermatitis

Smoking cigarette may cause contact dermatitis of the face and hands. It is often characterized by 2 parallel brown pigmented bands on the upper lip situated on either side of the philtrum, sometimes accompanied by brown pigmentation on the rest of the face. Several studies suggest that suggest that this is likely to be due to allergens contained in volatile substances and fragrance.


Smoking has also been associated with urticaria of the lips and sometimes generalized Urticaria too. In addition to tobacco smoke, the filters of the cigarette often contain triacetylglycerine which is thought to cause allergies. Some tobaccos pipes manufactured using epoxy resins are also thought to cause such allergies.

Nicotine Stomatitis
Nicotine stomatitis or leukokeratosis of the hard palate is another condition caused by smoking. It is thought to be caused by direct thermal injury to the hard palate, especially due to pipe smoking. It is characterized by the development of asymptomatic, warty macular plaques on the rear two thirds of hard palate. It is more commonly seen is pipe smokers than non-pipe smokers and is thought to be caused by tar rather than nicotine.

Black Hairy Tongue

Black hairy tongue is another common finding in chronic smokers. It is characterized by black or brown pigmentation of the tongue and excessive formation of papillae on the surface of the tongue which in association with black or brow pigment looks like hairs on the tongue. In addition to cigarette smoking other factors like excessive use of coffee or tea, over-growth of bacteria and use of certain antibiotics also lead to black hairy tongue.

In addition to above mentioned disease, tobacco smoking is associated with the development of several periodontal diseases. There are several other diseases caused by smoking cigarette either directly or indirectly, few are here and the rest we’ll discuss in later articles.