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Smoking After A Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis Can Speed Up The Disease's Progression

September 9th, 2015 

 

Cigarettes have long been identified as unhealthy for anyone, but a new study has determined that if a smoker with MS continues to smoke, it will accelerate the disease. The study was published in JAMA Neurology.

The study looked at 728 Swedish smokers who were all diagnosed with Relpasing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (the first stage). About half of the participants continued to smoke after their diagnosis. The researchers found that the smokers progressed to secondary progressive MS (the second stage) 5% faster each year as compared to the non-smokers. Meaning after 5 years the smokers disease had worsened 25% more for the smokers.

According to the National MS Society, there is mounting evidence that shows how smoking can worsen a person’s disease progression. Studies, such as one from 2003, published in the journal Neurology, have also shown that smoking itself is a risk factor when it comes to developing MS alone, as compared to people who never smoke.

"This study demonstrates that smoking after MS diagnosis has a negative impact on the progression of the disease," wrote the study’s authors, from the Karolinska Institutet. "Accordingly, evidence clearly supports advising patients with MS who smoke to quit. Health care services for patients with MS should be organized to support such a lifestyle change."