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Even a few cigarettes a day increases risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Number of cigarettes smoked a day and the number of years a person has smoked both increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), finds research in BioMed Central's open access journal Arthritis Research & Therapy. The risk decreases after giving up smoking but, compared to people who have never smoked, this risk is still elevated 15 years after giving up.

Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital analysed data from the Swedish Mammography Cohort, which included 34,000 women aged between 54 and 89, 219 of which had RA.

Results of the study showed that even light smoking is associated with an increased risk of RA - smoking 1 to 7 cigarettes a day more than doubled this risk. When the team compared people who had never smoked, to women who had smoked for up to 25 years, they found that the risk also increased with length of smoking.

Stopping smoking did decrease chances of developing RA, with the risk continuing to decrease over time - 15 years after giving up the risk of RA had decreased by a third. However, compared to people who had never smoked, this risk remained significantly higher at 15 years after giving up.

Daniela Di Giuseppe, who led this study, commented, "Stopping smoking is important for many health reasons, including the increased risk of RA for smokers. But the clearly increased risk of developing RA, even many years after giving up, is another reason to stop smoking as soon as possible, and highlight the importance of persuading women not to start at all."

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1. Cigarette smoking and smoking cessation in relation to risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women
Daniela Di Giuseppe, Nicola Orsini, Lars Alfredsson, Johan Askling and Alicja Wolk

Arthritis Research & Therapy

Please name the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's open access policy.

Article citation and URL available on request on the day of publication.

2. Arthritis Research & Therapy is an international, peer-reviewed online journal, publishing original research, reviews, commentaries and reports. The major focus of the journal is on cellular and molecular mechanisms of arthritis, musculoskeletal conditions and systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases and translation of this knowledge into advances in clinical care. Original basic, translational laboratory and clinical research is considered for publication along with results of therapeutic trials.

3. BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher which has pioneered the open access publishing model. All peer-reviewed research articles published by BioMed Central are made immediately and freely accessible online, and are licensed to allow redistribution and reuse. BioMed Central is part of Springer Science+Business Media, a leading global publisher in the STM sector. @BioMedCentral

Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
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