Data suggests tobacco smoking increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis

We all know that smoking combustible cigarettes come with great health risks, but did you know that it also adds to your risk of developing multiple sclerosis, a chronic, neurological disease that affects the brain and spinal cord? Find out more about this tobacco industry case study recently published by a Swedish medical university and how it may change the way you should look at smoking cessation and smoking prevention. 

The study

Led by Ali Manoucherinia, PhD, at the Karolinska Institutet in​​ Solnavägen, Sweden, this tobacco industry case study found that smoking combustible cigarettes is linked to an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Data from 9419 subjects determined that 13% of MS cases could be prevented by quitting tobacco cold turkey or simply transitioning to a smoking cessation aid, like e-cigs

This controlled study monitored two cohorts: smoking and nonsmoking. Age, gender, geographic location, and smoking status at the time of disease diagnosis were all factors that were considered in the makeup of these control groups. 

What were the results? 

Study investigators found in total that 44.1% of persons with MS and 35.9% of controls had never smoked before disease onset and 38.1% of cases and 29.2% of controls were still currently smoking. The overall rate of MS development due to smoking was 14.1%, with 72% of that group being women.

“In Sweden, the prevalence of MS is high, and the prevalence of smoking is low.

We believe that, from a global perspective, these numbers may represent an underestimate,” explained Manoucherinia.  

It was also noted that” exposure to cigarette smoke is an important modifiable environmental risk factor for MS development” adding that the risk is 50% higher in ever-smokers compared to never-smokers. 


Do you know someone who suffers from MS and has a history of smoking? Drop a comment below to help us to further understand the data from the above tobacco industry case study.

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