Smoking and Chronic Conditions

Smoking cigarettes causes many adverse effects on the body. Tobacco use increases the risk for many types of cancers along with an increase of risk with many chronic conditions. If you have a chronic condition, smoking not only increases your risk of developing them but can also make them significantly worse. Many people who smoke are not aware of how smoking and the management of their chronic conditions are related. It is never too late to stop smoking. The sooner you know how it affects your body and any chronic conditions, the sooner you can make the decision to quit.

Chronic Conditions and Smoking:

Cigarette smoke has thousands of ingredients. These ingredients compromise the immune system and increase heart rate and blood pressure (which raise your chance of stroke, heart attack, and death). Below are some chronic conditions and how smoking impacts them:

  • Psoriasis– Smoking affects the onset of psoriasis and its clinical appearance. Smokers have double the chance of developing psoriasis, and the number increases depending on the number of cigarettes smoked per day. You also have a lower chance of achieving remission versus someone who does not smoke.
  • GERD– Smoking is linked closely with GERD because smoking relaxes the smooth muscles and hinders saliva production. The esophageal sphincter becomes relaxed, which, when working correctly, prevents stomach contents from refluxing back into the esophagus. Smoking contributes to GERD in the following ways:
      • Relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter
      • Increased acid production in the stomach
      • Interference of esophageal muscles
      • Damages the esophageal lining
  • Lupus– Cigarette smoke complicates lupus and accelerates its ill-effects. Every part of the body that is impacted by lupus suffers negatively from smoking. It can also lower a medication’s effectiveness, making it harder to treat in smokers.
  • Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR)- Inflammatory disorders like PMR have an increased risk of vascular disease and osteoporosis. Chronic inflammation and regular steroid therapy for treatment are the leading causes. Smoking alone carries an increased risk of stroke and osteoporosis, so paired with a chronic condition, the risk is very high.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)- Less-likely chance of remission and increased risk of developing severe RA are a few of the repercussions of smoking. If you smoke(d) 20 or more years, your chances of developing RA are increased.
Help to Stop Smoking

Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, cutting short the lives of more than 480,000 each year. It is never too late to quit. The sooner you do, the sooner your body can begin to heal. Below are some smoking cessation links to help you in the journey to quitting:

To learn more about what clinical trials are doing to improve treatment options for these chronic conditions, or to view our list of enrolling studies, call (203) 325-8529. Or visit our website here.