Smoking increases your chance of getting MS

#MSBlog: Are you an MSer that smokes or smoked? Any ideas on how to prevent the next generation of smokers from getting MS?

EpubRamagopalan et al. Association of smoking with risk of multiple sclerosis: a population-based study. J Neurol. 2013 Mar 2.

Background: Genetic and environmental factors have important roles in multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility. Several studies have shown an association between smoking and MS risk. 

Objective: Here, in a population-based Canadian cohort, they investigate the relationship between personal and maternal smoking exposure and the risk of MS. 

Methods: Using the longitudinal Canadian database, 3,157 MS cases and 756 spouse controls were administered questionnaires on active and passive smoking history. Mothers of cases and controls were also asked about their smoking exposure during pregnancy. 

Results: The MS cases were more likely to have smoked than spouse controls (odds ratio 1.32, 95 % confidence interval 1.10-1.60, p = 0.003). This association was driven by an excess of ever-smokers in male MS cases. No association was seen with maternal active or passive smoking exposure during pregnancy. 

Conclusion: Ever-smoking is associated with increased MS risk in males. Further work is needed to understand the mechanism underlying this association.

“Smoking is one of the well-defined risk factors for getting MS and several other autoimmune diseases. Smoking increases your chances of getting MS by approximately 50%. This relatively small study, in epidemiological terms, confirms that smoking is associated with increased MS risk in males.”

“A grand challenge will be to work-out how smoking contributes to MS risk and is involved in the causal pathway of MS. If we could find this out we would know something more about MS and have some more clues on how to prevent MS”

“The age-old problem is getting young people to not smoke, particularly young girls. As you know MS is a pink-ribbon disease with an ever increasing number of young woman being diagnosed with the disease.” 

“Smoking is clearly an important topic on this blog; as witnessed by the number of previous posts on the topic.”

CoI: Ram, the first author, is a member of Team G

Other posts on this blog on smoking:
27 Dec 2012
BACKGROUND: Smoking has been associated with an increased risk for multiple sclerosis, but no studies have measured levels of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in prospectively collected samples to assess exposure.
07 Nov 2012
Passive smoking and MS. Hedström et al. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is associated with increased risk for multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2011 Jul;17(7):788-93. BACKGROUND: In response to question re 
07 Sep 2012
BACKGROUND: Epstein-Barr virus infection, smoking, HLA-A*02, and DRB1*15 have all been proposed as risk factors for MS. In 2010, Simon et al. from Boston USA, described an interaction on the multiplicative scale 
01 Oct 2011
Results: The gender ratio of MS is correlated with the gender ratio of smoking (r = 0.16; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.06, 0.26; p = 0.002). Additionally, they estimated an overall incidence rate ratio of 1.50 (95% CI: 1.17, 2.01) 
11 Jun 2011
Smoking is an important risk factor for MS (see previous post) and almost certainly interacts with other risk factors. Therefore getting young people to not start, or to stop smoking, is an important message of our “Prevent MS” 
18 Jan 2013
The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of snuff use on the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), taking smoking habits into consideration. Methods: In two Swedish population-based, case-control studies 
16 Jun 2011
Smoking and two human leukocyte antigen genes interact to increase the risk for MS. Hedström et al. Brain. 2011 Mar;134(Pt 3):653-64. Epub 2011 Feb 8. As you know from previous postings both genetic and environmental 
15 Dec 2011
Aims: We aimed to study the smoking habits of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and their healthy siblings in Isfahan province in Iran. Methods: MS patients registered with the Isfahan MS society database were compared to 
01 Dec 2011
Background: Certain lifestyles might influence disease activity in multiple sclerosis (MS). Objectives: To investigate the consumption of alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks, fish and cigarette smoking in relation to disability 
15 Jul 2011
Whist watching this video, I was struck by the overriding use of the term “we just don’t know” in relation to causes of MS. Risk factors can be all the things Ms. Espasandin highlighted, yet, it can also be none of the things she 
12 Apr 2011
Our results confirm that smoking is associated with MS susceptibility and increases the risk of getting MS by ~50% (conservative: risk ratio (RR) 1.48, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.35-1.63, p < 10⁻¹⁵; non-conservative: RR 
17 Oct 2012
Through rigorous epidemiological investigation, Epstein-Barr virus infection, vitamin D nutrition and cigarette smoking have been identified as likely causal factors in MS. In this Review, the strength of this evidence is 
16 May 2012
Maternal prenatal smoking (OR 3.09, 95%CI 1.22-7.84) was positively associated. Conclusion: Transplacental exposure to smoke constituents including chemicals affecting myelin may help explain any association with 
15 Aug 2011
Smoking. 3. Epstein Barr virus. Addressing factors 1 and 2 requires a change in behavior. However as with all public heath issues it takes a lot to get people to change their behavior. One of the methods that has recently been 

8 thoughts on “Smoking increases your chance of getting MS”

  1. Prof G,So factors which increase the risk of getting MS include Glandular Fever, low Vit D, smoking and possibly high salt in take. As a non-smoker, vegetarian, who spent huge amount of time outside, I suspect my bad case of Glandular Fever was the one factor that gave me MS. If you can stop people being infected with EBV this will be enough to prevent te disease.

  2. I have MS and I smoke weed. It helps me. My disease is progressive and I am not on any drugs. Smoking weed is my only relief. Please don't make me feel bad about it because I don't have an alternative.

    1. Good that cannabis helps your symptoms, plenty of evidence to back this up but of course smoking can't be condoned for obvious reasons. Have you considered some form of cannabis infusion/tea or tried to get a prescription for Sativex?No one is trying to make you feel bad!

    2. By smoking cannabis I can immediately feel and assess the hit. Eating cannabis with food takes longer to kick in and you run the risk of ingesting more than what can be handled. Bad idea.

    3. I appreciate what your saying and if it works for you keep on doing what you're doing though Sativex might be worth a try (ask your Doc)and gets round the illegality issue. All the best.

    4. I take Sativex and as it is a spray (that goes under your tongue or on the inside of your cheek) it gets absorbed and becomes active quite quickly. You are getting a defined dose each time and titrate upwards at the start very slowly so you determine what works for you. If you can get it, I recommend it.

  3. Hello,This is a question on Twitter sent to me 'I have a friend with MS who is a very heavy smoker. Does smoking make it worse once you've got MS I wonder?'Does it ?

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