Neglecting Their Tools

10/17/2011 09:12 am ET | Updated Dec 17, 2011

What would you think if a surgeon didn't sanitize her scalpel, or an author didn't proofread his writing? Perhaps you'd say that they're irresponsible -- that they don't respect their patients or customers. Well, what if a singer were to inhale ammonia, lead, acetone, and 596 other substances at the same time? Artists such as Lady Gaga and Adele do this regularly; they're smokers.

As The Huffington Post recently reported, Adele has been having serious voice issues. Back in May, the soulful UK singer was forced to cancel five dates of her US tour, and ultimately the remainder of the tour in June, due to an ongoing battle with laryngitis. Earlier this month, Adele announced on her website that she had to cancel the rest of her rescheduled US tour dates due to a vocal hemorrhage, which she described as a black eye on the vocal cord. These potentially disastrous health issues can make a devoted fan worry. What if Adele can't sing anymore?

Since she busted into the pop music scene in 2008 with her hit single "Just Dance," Lady Gaga's fame and fan base has skyrocketed. Her latest album, Born This Way, sold over 1.1 million copies in its first week, with over 5 million worldwide sales to date. Her most recent concert tour, The Monster Ball, grossed an estimated total of over $227 million. Of all the pop stars on the charts these days, our lady is the one to beat. However, there has been an obvious change in the tone of Gaga's voice. If you compare her earlier tunes, like "Paparazzi," to the tracks on Born This Way, like "Heavy Metal Lover" and "Americano," you'll notice a significant change in vocal range. Although the record is still high quality work, it's apparent that something has made Gaga's voice deeper.

It's important to know that neither of these instances have been directly connected to the talented singers' smoking habits. Adele very well may have simply put too much strain on her vocal cords, and Lady Gaga's change in pitch could easily just be a part of the change in sound that she's been putting out lately. In fact, it's likely that these are the true causes of the ladies' vocal predicaments.

However, an important question must be asked -- could smoking damage a singer's ability to sing? Absolutely. Smoking can cause a plethora of voice issues, including reflux laryngitis, swollen vocal cords, and multiple forms of throat cancer. Smoking can also diminish the overall quality and volume of the voice, which both Adele and Gaga use to the fullest.

Adele and Lady Gaga aren't alone. Other smoking singers include Britney Spears, Judy Garland, and Amy Winehouse. Although each of these stars have left a legacy, it's crucial to know what their unhealthy habits have done to their most precious, irreplaceable instrument: the voice.