Everyone picks their poison. Some choose meds, others cigarettes, and I chose surgery. The one irony I see in your statement was your fear of "long term side effects" from meds. Since you smoke you won't have to worry about any long term side effects!
I am a former smoker. I quit over 20 years ago and long before I was diagnosed with UC. I have read over the years how smoking can keep the UC symptoms at bay. Although I really desired remission in my last flare, I didn't want to smoke and sacrifice my athletic life.
I wish you continued good health on both ends! Oh, even though the inhaler might help keep your lungs clear, it will not help prevent cancer.
dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998
1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics
2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic
2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free