Impact of smoking cessation on salivary function in healthy volunteers

Scand J Gastroenterol. 1998 Jun;33(6):568-71. doi: 10.1080/00365529850171792.


Background: Salivary bicarbonate and epidermal growth factor (EGF) have an important protective role in the oesophagus. The effect of smoking cessation on these aspects of salivary function is unknown.

Methods: Salivary bicarbonate secretion and EGF output were measured before and after attempted smoking cessation in 28 healthy volunteers. Urinary cotinine excretion was used to assess compliance.

Results: Negative correlations were found between salivary flow rate and age (rho = -0.34) and between cigarette consumption and salivary flow (rho = -0.27) and salivary bicarbonate concentrations (rho = -0.32). Smoking cessation was associated with a significant increase in salivary bicarbonate secretion (day 0, 1.7 (0.14-6.2); day 7, 3.6 (0.52-6.4); day 21, 3.3 (0.44-6.6) micromol min(-1); P < 0.01) but left salivary EGF output unchanged.

Conclusion: Smoking cessation is associated with significant improvements in salivary bicarbonate secretion. This would benefit patients with reflux disease who stop smoking.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bicarbonates / analysis*
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / analysis
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Secretory Rate / physiology
  • Smoking Cessation*


  • Bicarbonates
  • Epidermal Growth Factor