The Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society has recently released an announcement stating that the link between MS and smoking is “clearer than ever.” The relationship between tobacco smoking and MS shows not only are people who smoke more likely to develop MS, but also smoking can speed up the progression of MS into disability.
The announcement is well timed with the annual “Stobtober” beginning October 1st, a yearly campaign to promote and encourage the cessation of tobacco products.
A research review conducted by the MS Society shows 3 things:
- Smoking can make MS more active
- Smoking can worsen current MS symptoms and speed the progression to disability
- Smoking can speed the transition from relapsing to secondary progressive MS
Hope in the research
There is hope in this research. One study noted that smoking cessation could delay the onset of secondary progressive MS by as much as eight (8) years. Secondary MS is a form of the disease for which there is no treatment.
“Looking at all the evidence it’s clear smoking can make MS worse, and harder for the brain to fight the condition. Over 100,000 people in the UK have MS and, in light of this review, we are encouraging and supporting every one of them who smokes to quit – it could make a difference to how their MS progresses”, says Dr Susan Kohlhaas, Director of Research at the MS Society.
“It’s not just people who have MS who need to be aware of this though, as people who smoke are more likely to develop MS than people who don’t. It can be hard to give up, but Stoptober is a great time to quit because of the support of thousands of others doing the same thing.”
89% of individuals with MS may not know about the connection to smoking
The research by the MS Society discovered that most people with MS do not realize the association between smoking and MS – as many as 89% of individuals with MS may not know about the connection to smoking.
Dr Waqar Rashid, consultant neurologist at St George’s Hospital in London, said:
“Research suggests smoking can cause further damage to the myelin sheath – the protective layer that surrounds our nerves, which is affected in people with MS. This prevents messages getting through properly, causing common symptoms like vision, mobility, and cognitive problems.”
Photo by Sarah Louise Kinsella on Unsplash
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.