Tobacco smoking and excess mortality in multiple sclerosis: a cohort study

This study looked at the impact of tobacco smoking on the risk of premature death and its contribution to excess mortality in MS patients. The study included 1,032 patients, with 923 having clinically definite MS. Smoking-specific mortality rates were compared with the general UK population.

Results showed that hazard ratios (HRs) for death in current smokers and ex-smokers relative to never-smokers were 2.70 and 1.30 respectively. The mortality ratios for MS patients, which were stratified by smoking status, were 3.83 in current smokers, 1.96 in ex-smokers and 1.27 in non-smokers, compared with the general UK population. The mortality rates for never-smokers and ex-smokers with MS were very similar. Current smokers with MS had a death rate 84 per cent higher than current smokers without MS.

Overall this study shows that tobacco smoking can contribute towards some of the excess mortality associated with MS. Reducing the prevalence of tobacco smoking in people with MS is one factor that can potentially reduce the excess mortality rates seen in MS patients.

Authors: Manouchehrinia A, Weston M
Source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 25. doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-307187. [Epub ahead of print]
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