Because smokers are less likely to develop ulcerative colitis (UC), a type of inflammatory bowel disease, patients with UC may be tempted to start smoking to lessen their symptoms.
Smokers and never-smokers with UC had similar outcomes with respect to flares, medication use, hospitalisations, and colon surgery. Also, smoking cessation did not worsen the course of disease in patients.
"We did not find any benefits of smoking in ulcerative colitis. We hope our study will give people with ulcerative colitis the confidence to avoid smoking and thereby improve their health in general," said lead author Jonathan Blackwell, BMBS, of St. George's Healthcare NHS Trust and St. George's University, in London.