FAQ

Is Smoking Okay If I’m On the Birth Control Pill?

FAQ

Is Smoking Okay If I’m On the Birth Control Pill?

Hormonal birth control can be useful for many people. But, smoking while using options like the pill or the ring can raise the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Doctors often don’t recommend smoking while on birth control that contains estrogen. People who smoke can lower their risk by choosing options that doesn’t have estrogen such as the minipill, the hormonal and copper IUD, or the condom.

You can talk to a doctor or nurse about whether you smoke or you plan to smoke. They can help you find the birth control that works for you and keeps your risk low!

Is smoking ok when I’m on the pill?

Some birth control, like the ring, the combination pill and the patch have two hormones: progestin and estrogen. A high level of estrogen can increase the risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks. The nicotine in cigarettes raises people’s blood pressure and heart rate. Together, they can lead to a higher chance of strokes and heart attacks. These kinds of birth control aren’t recommended for smokers.

Some other types of birth control like the minipill and the hormonal IUD have only one hormone: progestin. Doctors and nurses will typically recommend these for people who smoke.

People who smoke can also use types of birth control without any hormones, like condoms or the copper IUD, to lower the risk.

Is smoking weed ok when I’m on the pill?

There isn’t as much research on how marijuana and birth control may interact or conflict with one another. But, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a chemical compound found in marijuana, raises people’s blood pressure and heart rate, like nicotine. So, on its own, weed also raises the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Weed can also affect your memory, making it more difficult to take a daily pill on time.

Because of these, if you smoke, eat, or vape weed, it can help to tell a doctor or nurse and ask about birth control options. 

Is vaping ok when I’m on the pill?

Vaping is still new, so we don’t have research on how it affects hormonal birth control. If your vaporizers or e-cigarettes have nicotine, they could have the same risks as cigarettes. Since we don’t know for sure, it might be safer to choose an option without estrogen and ask a doctor or nurse for birth control recommendations if you vape nicotine.

Is birth control without estrogen as good?

Absolutely! Methods without estrogen are some of the most effective birth control around.

If it’s taken perfectly on time, the estrogen-free minipill is 97% effective at preventing pregnancy over a year. This is about the same as the combination pill. But, it’s very important to take the minipill at the same time every day for it to be the most effective. Because it’s common for people to take it late, it’s less effective for most people.

If you’d have trouble taking the minipill on time, or a pill isn’t right for you, there are many other options. For example, hormonal and copper IUDs are safe and over 99% effective!

It’s a good idea to ask your doctor or nurse about your birth control options. You can also tell them about any type of smoking. They can help you choose the birth control that’s right for you!

More info

Minipills – Scarleteen

Scarleteen explains the effectiveness, benefits, side effects, and more about the progesterone-only birth control pill, or mini pill.

Birth Control Options – OptBC

Options for Sexual Health provides an in-depth view at the contraception options available in Canada, including their effectiveness, benefits, drawbacks, and reccomendations.

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