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Cigarette Smoking & Fibromyalgia

What Your Habit is Doing to Your Symptoms

By

Updated August 23, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Do you smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco? When you have fibromyalgia, tobacco use may have even greater health risks than you thought.

Multiple studies have shown that tobacco use is associated with worse fibromyalgia symptoms. Smoking may also be a risk factor for developing this condition.

The Studies

In 2009, Mayo Clinic researchers published a study that included data from 984 patients, 145 of whom were tobacco users.

Researchers said tobacco use was linked to:

  • Greater pain intensity
  • Higher scores on the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire
  • Fewer good days
  • More missed work

Also in 2009, a study published in Rheumatology International found that the following symptoms were more severe in cigarette smokers:

Those researchers compared smoking rates of fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis patients and found that fibromyalgia patients were more likely to smoke.

A 2011 study involving 336 people with fibromyalgia found that about 10% of participants were current smokers. Researchers concluded that smokers:

The authors called for more research into the impact of smoking on pain, function, and psychiatric features in the illness.

A 2010 study suggested that smoking cigarettes appeared to be linked to the development of fibromyalgia, and that smoking may be a risk factor.

Trying to Quit

No matter the health risks, it's not easy to break a tobacco addiction. Terry Martin, About.com Guide to Smoking Cessation, has been there, and her site has a lot of resources that can help:

You might also want to visit Terry's forum, where you can talk to other people trying to kick the habit.

Sources:

Choi, et al. The journal of pain: official journal of the American Pain Society. The association between incident self-reported fibromyalgia and nonpsychiatric factors: 25-years follow-up of the Adventist Health Study.

Lee SS, et al. Joint, bone, spine: revue du rhumatisme. 2011 May;78(3):259-65. Smoking habits influence pain and functional and psychiatric features in fibromyalgia.

Pamuk ON, Donmez S, Cakir N. Rheumatology international. 2009 Sep;29(11):1311-4. The frequency of smoking in fibromyalgia patients and its association with symptoms.

Weingarten TN, et al. Clincal journal of pain. 2009 Jan;25(1):39-43. Impact of tobacco use in patients presenting to a multidisciplinary outpatient treatment program for fibromyalgia.

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