Cigarette smoking is associated with a higher risk of rheumatoid arthritis, finds study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy. 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."