A study has reported that smokers who continued to smoke after being diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS reached the transition to secondary progressive MS more quickly than those who gave up smoking.
The study followed 728 people in Sweden who were smokers when diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. Those who continued to smoke after diagnosis reached the transition to secondary progressive MS more quickly than those who quit smoking (at an average age of 48 rather than 56 years).
These results add to the evidence that smoking can influence the course of MS. Previous studies have found that smoking increases the risk of developing MS, the risk of having a relapse and leads to more rapid disease progression.
As smoking is also a risk factor for a range of other conditions such as cancers and heart disease, giving up, or at least cutting down, is recommended.
If you are considering quitting, there are a range of programmes to support you. Visit your GP to discuss what could work for you and find out what's available in your area.
This October, the NHS Stoptober campaign challenges smokers to give up cigarettes for 28 days. If a smoker can quit for 28 days they are five times more likely to stop for good. Quitting with a friend or family member also increases your chance of stopping for good.
Ramanujam R, et al.
Effect of smoking cessation on multiple sclerosis prognosis.
Journal of American Medical Association Neurology 2015 Sep 8:1-7. [Epub ahead of print]
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