Saturday, 11 June 2011

Smoking in young girls

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" campaign.

If you are a child or a sibling of someone with MS and have first hand experience of the disease how could you consider smoking or continuing to smoke?

A worrying trend is the apparent increase in smoking in young girls, relative to boys. The reasons for this are complex and need to be addressed if we want to reduce the incidence of MS in the next generation.


Click here to read the report on "Smoking among young people in England in 2009"



"I get very depressed when I see young people, particularly woman, smoking; smoking increases your chances of getting MS by ~50%."

7 comments:

  1. I don't think the data support the claim that smoking increases the risk of MS. I have never smoked and I got MS. I'd like to see the data on patients diagnosed with MS and whether they smoked. If 90%+ people with MS had smoked in the past I'd be convinced, but I don't believe that to be the case. Plenty of young women - (celebs such as Amy Whitehouse (whose mother has MS), Kate Moss & co - see pics in Sunday supplements) smoke - yet don't appear to be coming down with MS). The researchers would need to explain why people like me (and lots of others with MS) get MS yet have never smoked. Spain and Germany for example have very high rates of smoking (don't forget China and Japan). Do they have very high rates of MS? I don't think this case stacks up i.e. it's not a strong link. If nobody smoked we'd still have MS

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  2. Being a teenager of the late 1990s I used to smoke cigarettes on occasion but I was never a serious smoker. However, I did engage in casual hallucinogenic and psychotropic recreational drug use, but I even stopped that in my early 20s and decided to become a health freak. It was 5 years into my healthy phase that I developed MS. Sometimes I wonder if my formative blasé attitude towards decadent living caused my MS because no one else in my clean living family has it but me.

    The truth is that all this is supposition, as there are people who do much worse things in life for an even prolonged period of time with developing MS (Ozzy Osborne anyone?). Clinical MS has become a statistical playing field, one set of statistics cancelling out another set. I do get the sense that there is a lot of shooting in the dark when it comes to thinking of reasons why people develop MS.

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  3. Re "I don't think the data support the claim that smoking increases the risk of MS": MS is a relatively uncommon disease and smoking a common exposure. This means that very few people who smoke will develop MS and a large number of people who develop MS don't smoke. Smoking is simply a risk factor that increases your chances of getting MS, rheumatoid arthritis and several other so called autoimmune diseases. However, at a population level smoking is an important risk factor that can be modified. Please spread the message.

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  4. Re "The truth is that all this is supposition, as there are people who do much worse things in life for an even prolonged period of time with developing MS (Ozzy Osborne anyone?)": Unfortunately, when it comes to health life is a bit of a lottery. However, I believe you can shift the odds in your favour, or you siblings' or childrens' if you know the science. Please spread the gospel; "If you are at increased risk of getting MS don't smoke".

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  5. I agree that we should spread the word, as you suggest. However, the known health risks as a result of smoking are already very compelling and don't seem to have made a difference to the young people taking up smoking. However your observations add more weight to the argument against smoking.

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  6. I must get this into the head of my second child. Never smoke, as a sibling you already have an increased risk of MS

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  7. I just blogged on smoking and MS - if you're interested it's at http://t.co/8s9ZxTR

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