Smoking and MS

Time to educate your family about the risks of smoking and MS. #MSBlog #MSResearch

"How many of you have been counselled to tell your children, siblings and extended family about the strong link between smoking and MS risk? It may be too late for you if you already have MS, but your extended family are at increased risk of developing the disease and therefore it is your responsibility to educate then about the risks of smoking and MS. If you smoke your risks of getting MS are 50% higher than if you don't smoke. One of the great tragedys about smoking is that most people are unaware of the autoimmune risks associated with the addiction. Prevention is better than cure; please don't smoke."

"One of the reasons for us launching the Digesting Science teaching course was to create a vehicle for educating children of MSers about MS and MS prevention. We are desperately trying to get the programme to go viral and to expand the number of components or stations on the course to include more on prevention, including smoking. The problem with smoking prevention is that we are up against the marketing might of the tobacco industry and their subliminal marketing campaigns. Proof of this are the shocking trends in regard to smoking in teenage girls in England. What can be done to stop  this curse? Some say that the incidence of MS would be cut by up to a quarter in the first smoking-free generation. I suspect this estimate is a bit ambitious, but imagine preventing 1 in 4 people who are destined to get MS from getting the disease? Wow that is what I would call progress. This is why preventive medicine is such an appealing science."

"Please note that smoking has also been linked to a worse outcome in MSers with established disease. In other words if you continue to smoke your MS is likely to progress at a  faster rate."

"Please use the search engine on the web version of this blog to read-up about smoking and MS; there are numerous posts on this topic."

Epub: O'Gorman C, Broadley SA. Smoking and multiple sclerosis: evidence for latitudinal and temporal variation.J Neurol. 2014 Jun 13.

Background: There is growing evidence for the role of smoking in the aetiology of multiple sclerosis. 

Objectives: We have expanded existing meta-analyses and further explored the roles of study design, gender, latitude and year of study with regression modelling. 

Results: We have found a consistent association between smoking and MS with an odds ratio of approximately 1.5, with males at higher risk. This finding is independent of study design. However, latitude and year of study may have unexpected influence. Smoking appeared to confer a greater risk to females living closer to the equator than to females at higher latitudes. The effect of cigarette smoke exposure on MS risk may not be fixed over time, but could be increasing. 

Conclusions: These results suggest a threshold model of MS risk that includes a fairly constant genetic risk (for Caucasian populations) together with variable environmental risks which are dominated by vitamin D deficiency at higher latitudes and are more significant in women who have an intrinsically lower threshold for development of disease.

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