Smoking, Secondhand Smoke and Psoriasis

Can smoking really cause psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a skin disease which causes redness and inflammation of the skin. The skin appears scaly and often the individual will feel pain, soreness, itching or burning. This is a chronic disease but is not usually life threatening. People with psoriasis can go through the same experiences of those with severe diseases. For some time, psoriasis has been linked to different causes. One of these causes is smoking. For many years there was no scientific evidence until recent years, such as the Nurse Health Study II publication. These are the best two lotions to moisturize psoriasis.

Smoking and drinking top the vices of people in our society. Even in high school, teenagers start to experiment with these kind of fixes. Some will quit while others die due to ailments caused by smoking or drinking. In the United States alone, many of the population die due to smoking. The tobacco in cigarettes contains more than 4,000 chemicals that are toxic to the body. Every puff from a cigarette brings the smoker one step closer to a risk of illnesses of the throat, mouth, esophagus, heart, lungs, skin and others.

In 1985, O'Doherty and MacIntyre brought up the relationship of smoking and palmoplantar pustular psoriasis. Since then, many more studies have been conducted to prove this assumption.

One of the groundbreaking studies proving this case is the result of the Nurse’s Health Study II. In 1989, 116, 608 female registered nurses completed a questionnaire as an initial survey for the research. After 14 years of continuous follow up, out of this group of women, 887 had an occurrence of psoriasis. Researches found out that psoriasis incident happened to smokers, past smokers and those breathing secondhand smoke. As such, the result of the Nurse’s Health Study II supported the connection of smoking being one cause of psoriasis.

According to the results of this “ongoing longtitudinal study”, the risk of having psoriasis increases if one taking in smoke reduces gradually instead of just stopping. Note that quitting only reduces the risk but does not erase the risk of damage done. The study of NHS also concludes that even in the event one stops smoking, it takes 20 years to decrease one’s susceptibility to the risks of developing psoriasis. Passive smoking can also trigger the risks of psoriasis. Women smoking during pregnancy increase the risk of their child to psoriasis and children exposed to a smoking environment face the same chances. Another result of the study is that between men and women, women are slightly more prone to psoriasis.

What could be the agent in smoking that increases the risks to psoriasis? According to experts, the toxins in cigarettes affect the biological level of those breathing smoke. In fact, because of these toxins, the immune system decreases various functions. A body process greatly affected by this is the skin cell growth. With these toxins in the body, the skin cell growth slows down. According to Luigi Naldi, M.D, who led an Italian case control study on smoking and psoriasis, the nicotine is the probable cause for the changes in one’s immune system. The nicotine is believed to hinder skin cell growth, the same reason premature aging is another downside of smoking. The more years an individual smoked, the more one is prone to psoriasis.

The advice of health professionals is to quit smoking, do not breathe secondhand smoke, and don’t start smoking. Health professionals continue to educate patients with psoriasis to avoid smoking, especially since the correlation between the two has already been proven. Studies have provided overwhelming, unquestionable scientific evidence so that they can educate and help others.

People with psoriasis deal with years of experimenting with medications, experiencing scrutiny from other people, and suffer from loss of self confidence and self esteem. The red patches and scaly skin is not a pleasant sight for anyone, including the person with psoriasis. For smokers or those breathing secondhand smoke, it is clear that removal of smoke can only help their situation. It is also good to keep in mind that smoking can not only bring about psoriasis, but also other life threatening illnesses sooner or later in life. The worst part would seem to be the dangers inflicted upon one’s own health, but the fact that secondhand smoke can cause psoriasis and other diseases for one or many others near the smoker is something no one wants to cause.