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Smoking: Smoking is dangerous, but the effect is more severe when taking after a meal. Ensure you avoid smoking, and if you must, wait a couple of hours after eating. A substance known as nicotine found in cigarettes binds with oxygen that is required by the body to carry out digestion properly. This binding makes oxygen unavailable for digestion; thus, the body absorbs carcinogens. Researchers have shown smoking after a meal increases the risk of developing lung or bowel cancer.