View Full Version : Smoking and Lupus

05-13-2009, 12:24 PM
Smoking and Lupus: A Double Whammy by Patricia S. Leisy (I condensed)
Lupus by itself can pack a powerful punch and may cause a variety of ill effects on one's health and well being. Most people with lupus ask,
"Is there anything I can do to improve my health and chances for a long life? Is there any special diet or exercise? Anything I should avoid?"

Any small benefit gleaned from cigarette smoking is far outweighed by tobacco's negative effects. The following list pairs what we know about lupus with the known effects of smoking.

People with lupus are more susceptible to infections, with respiratory infections among the most common.

Smoking cigarettes increases the risk of pneumococcal pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. Researchers report that passive smoking, or regular exposure to secondhand smoke, also raises the risk of having this type of pneumonia. New England Journal of Medicine 2000 Mar 9; 342(10):681-9
Smoking or hanging around others who do may increase your risk of pneumococcal pneumonia.

People with lupus on long-term moderate (11-40mg/day) to high (41-100mg/day) doses of prednisone have been found to develop heart disease (atherosclerosis) 20 to 30 years earlier than the general population. It's not uncommon for angina (heart muscle pain ) and even heart attacks to occur in lupus patients as young as 30 or 40 years of age.

Smoking increases the risk of coronary artery disease.
If you smoke and have lupus you greatly increase the risk of damaging your heart.

Lupus can affect the blood vessels and circulation in a variety of ways. Raynaud's disease is common in people with lupus and when active, results in poor circulation to the hands and feet. Lupus vasculitis can cause narrowing of blood vessels and reduced blood flow to tissues and organs. Antiphospholipid antibodies may increase the risk of serious blood clots and stroke.

Smoking narrows blood vessels and worsens peripheral vascular disease (poor blood supply).
Smoking contributes to blood vessel spasms and can magnify the effect of Raynaud's making a mild case worse, and could result in severe damage to fingers and toes.
Smoking increases the risk of stroke.

Kidney disease in lupus can result in hypertension.

A study at Stanford University of patients with lupus nephritis found that those who smoked progressed to end stage kidney disease far more quickly than did non-smokers (145 months vs. 273 months). Archives of Internal Medicine 1992 Oct; 152(10): 2082-8
Smoking contributes to elevated blood pressure which increases the risk of stroke and worsening kidney disease.

People with lupus can also develop diabetes and thereby be prone to poor wound healing.

Smoking slows wound healing.
Smoking increases the risk of heart attack in diabetics (insulin or non-insulin dependent).

Avascular necrosis of bone can develop in lupus and may require surgery.

Smoking slows recovery from illness and surgery.
Smoking slows bone healing.

Heartburn is found in 10 to fifty percent of people with lupus.

Smoking has harmful effects on all parts of the digestive system, contributing to such common disorders as heartburn. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease - Smoking and Your Digestive System (http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health/digest/pubs/smoke/smoking.htm).

Many of the medications used to alleviate symptoms of lupus are broken down by the liver. Lupus can affect the liver.

Smoking affects the liver, too, by changing the way it metabolizes drugs and alcohol. In some cases, this may influence the dose of medication necessary to treat an illness.

Lupus can cause skin disease, which may be effectively treated with antimalarial medications.

Smoking has been shown to interfere with the benefits of hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil), chloroquine (Aralen), and quinacrine (Atabrine) for the skin disease of patients with SLE. Journal of Rheumatology 1998; 25:1716-1719
A study at the University of Minnesota of patients with discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) found that smoking was more prevalent in people with DLE compared to those with other skin diseases and those in the general population. The researchers proposed that smoking may be a risk factor for development of DLE. Cutis 1999 Apr; 63(4):231-4)
Studies conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found lupus skin disease is more active in smokers than non-smokers. The Lupus Book 2000; 187

Lupus can cause hair loss and other skin symptoms.

Smoking has been associated with skin diseases and studies in mice indicate a link may exist between smoking and both hair loss and premature gray hair. Toxicology Letters 2000 Apr 3;114(1-3):117-123

Medications used in the treatment of lupus: prednisone, excessive thyroid hormones, anticonvulsants, antacids containing aluminum, and heparin increase the risk for fragile bones or osteoporosis.

Smoking magnifies the risk for osteoporosis.

It is clear that smoking complicates and accelerates the ill effects of lupus. We also know that most of the negative effects are reversible when smoking stops.

More than any other lifestyle choice you make, quitting cigarettes will have the greatest positive impact on your lupus.

Most smokers would prefer to quit. In fact, in a recent study, 65 percent of older smokers said that they would like to stop. What keeps them from quitting? They are afraid of being irritable, nervous, and tense. Others are concerned about cravings for cigarettes. Most don't want to gain weight. Many think it's too late to quit--that quitting after so many years of smoking will not help. But this is not true."
There's no other lifestyle choice you can make that will have more of an impact on your health than the decision not to smoke. For tips on quitting see the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) web site: How to Quit Smoking. (http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/how2quit.htm%20)


Besides impairing circulation and worsening symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome, tobacco smoke contains hydrazine, a chemical that causes flares of cutaneous lupus.

Now, if you smoke, you are more likely to get the worst kind of skin lupusdiscoid lupus. Also, plaquenil doesn't work very well. So, don't smoke. It's bad for your lupus. Set a day and quit!

05-13-2009, 12:27 PM
I've smoked for 28 years and have had no smoke rings about my head, for almost 7 years....Yeah!

Cold turkey. Gobble, gobble

05-13-2009, 12:28 PM
Oh Oluwa, youre so GREAT and so HELPFUL! I dont smoke but thats good information for people to know who do!!! Its a double whamy is right!!! Why push this disease further along that much sooner! I say do what is right by your body!!!

05-13-2009, 03:29 PM
**Reads as i roll my golden virginia rolly....and sparks up**

Interesting read Oluwa,

had asthama as a child, but went when i left school! never had an other problems with smoking, ppl often say to me why dont you give up?!.......but i dont want to i like smoking,

anyway cheers


05-15-2009, 02:40 PM
Enjoy....just information for future use.


05-17-2009, 05:40 PM
I was dx with this wonderful disease 2.5 yrs ago. I stopped smoking 3yrs ago. I have been wondering if the smoking kept my immune system supressed some. An employee of mine is married to someoen that was dx with Lupus also. She did not get the symptoms till after she had quit smoking for like 4-6 months. Makes me want to start back up!

However, my wife said that she would then kill me. I think that it would be a slower and more painful death by her!!! ;)

Just food for thought, that is if anyone is hungry.

05-17-2009, 06:11 PM
Just found this from the John Hopkins Center...

Now, if you smoke, you are more likely to get the worst kind of skin lupusdiscoid lupus. Also, plaquenil doesn't work very well. So, don't smoke. It's bad for your lupus. Set a day and quit!

Mary Jane
05-17-2009, 10:43 PM
Interesting reading, makes me glad i never started. My mother died from emphasema(sp?), I swore I'd never start. Respiratory problems run on my mothers side of the family. Thanks for reinforcing my decision to never start.:yes:

05-17-2009, 10:57 PM
Nothing good comes from smoking except probably instant gratification.

Jeanette, thank you for the compliment and you're welcome Mary Jane...hugs.

05-18-2009, 08:37 AM
Excellent information (as always). Now, I am glad that I never started smoking :wacko:. I'm going to leave this thread for a bit longer, then I am gong to make it a sticky! Thanx again for the great info!

Peace and Blessings

05-18-2009, 12:57 PM
Too funny Cptnblah!!!! LOL Yeah, it probably WOULD be alot MORE painful!!!!! :laugh:

05-18-2009, 03:08 PM
I smoked a long time ago, but decided to quit, cold turkey, the day I found I out I was pregnant with my first child. It was incredibly hard. But I am so glad I did it. Number one reason, for the health of my baby. But also for me and my lungs. I started feeling so much better within 2 months. My lungs felt so much better, and I didn't get nearly as many colds, coughs or respiratory infections afterwards.

I, too, started when I was in my teens and at first it was only social smoking, when I had a drink or was out with friends. Pretty much just a few cigarettes a day. Gradually over time, it increased and increased. I always thought, well I only smoke a few cigarettes, it's not like I'm addicted, I can stop anytime. Wrong! It was still incredibly hard to stop. And the withdrawals were hell! But I did it.

My husband smoked too, since he was 16. When I chose to quit, he promised me he was planning to also. But he kept on smoking and it continued for another 16 years. I worried myself sick over it...finally I gave up bitching at him because the more I would push, the harder he pushed back. I let him know how scared I was that he was going to die of lung cancer and leave me and our kids alone. I told him if that happened, I would curl up and die...that my heart would break. I finally stopped even talking about it with him...decided it had to be his choice, he had to be motivated on his own. I suffered and worried silently.

In December, 2007, he made that choice, on his own, and started cutting down. He then bought the Nicorette gum and used it for about 3 months. That's what it took for him to stop the cigarettes completely. Then he got sick of the strong nicotine from the gum, so he switched to a regular gum for the oral fixation. He chewed gum for 3 months and then one day, stopped it.

This June, it will be 1-1/2 years smoke free for him. He has not touched a cigarette and says he feels so much better. This past winter, he did not get one single respiratory infection or flu, and he always used to get several each year. I am soooo proud of him, and I make sure to tell him that. And tell him how much it means to me that now I have a better chance of spending a long, long future with him by my side....God willing. :veryhappy:

Hope this gives someone else the courage to try...

:cool2: Lori

p.s. oh, yeah...my husband treats himself to an expensive cigar for his birthday now...that's his reward. When we went to Jamaica last summer, he had his first cuban cigar. :smokin:

05-18-2009, 04:19 PM
what a NICE story Lori! WOO HOO to the power of being able to quit!!!!!:240:

05-18-2009, 04:28 PM
Do you smoke lucky?

05-18-2009, 04:36 PM
SORRY ISDM, i dont. I wish you didnt, its so addictive though and i understand the difficulty in quitting. My sister has smoked since she was 13, shes 40 now and she has alot of health issues. My grandmother, whom i ADORED and was from England mind you:cute:, smoked her whole life and it contributed to her heart failure:skeptical:. That was one of the WORST days of my life when i lost her. I have a close friend who i grew up with and shes smoked since she was 13, shes 37 now and she too has alot of health problems. PLEASE try to do it for YOU:cute:

05-19-2009, 12:48 PM
Lupus.org...facts sheet.

Besides impairing circulation and worsening symptoms of Raynaud’s syndrome, tobacco smoke contains hydrazine, a chemical that causes flares of cutaneous lupus.


05-19-2009, 01:58 PM
Sad to say that its LITERALLY poison in your body:no:

05-19-2009, 05:27 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this information. My own mother's death resulted from what we now believe was an undiagnosed and catastrophic autoimmune event, accelerated exponentially by the fact that she was a chain smoker for years. There is an incredible amount of research linking lupus and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)...which by itself is made even more lethal when it appears in someone who smokes.

I congratulate you for quitting. We are blessed to have you here.


05-19-2009, 08:32 PM
You're welcome Jana...BTW, I have a cousin named Jana. And thank you for the compliments. I am blessed to have found my way here to WHL.

I am sorry you lost your Mom. My Mom died, age 60 of lung cancer, smoked, times chained for 40 years..even while diagnosed. Stopping at that time would not have changed her health...was too late.

With all the statistics out there...I wonder, nowadays why any young person would start. When I was growing up, there was none. Smoking meant coming into your own...weird, eh? Like learning to drive a car...


05-20-2009, 03:53 AM
Sorry no offence but i actually like smoking,
Im not planning on giving up either, i kno everyone keeps going on about it, and yes ive lost a lot of close friends family etc to smoking related issues,
but hey ho


05-20-2009, 06:40 AM
No offense intended here either. Just relaying my personal experience. I wish you well and good health, always.


05-20-2009, 08:00 AM

No offense taken...

This wasn't a personal post to anyone either...this thread was info only, for whomever...as smoking has come up in the forum on several occasions since I joined....so, I thought I'd share

You mentioned earlier that you like to smoke...know you don't have to explain to anyone why you smoke..I was a smoker for years. I know how it goes. After awhile I wouldn't tell my doctor I smoked, I tired of the lecture...so, I wasn't lecturing or indirectly trying to change you up...or anyone.

Now on a personal ..QUIT...LOL...

Hugs, love and all that gunk.

05-20-2009, 09:11 AM
oh my......LOL!

No it wernt sposed to come out like that either hmmm,

I know your post wasnt directed at anyone in particular, i just thought i may add that i like to smoke, in any case im hard and it looks good lol (joke)

hava good day all