Parents beware! Smoking before your daughter can be harmful as a study has found that children, especially girls, who are exposed to passive smoking in childhood, face a greater risk of developing arthritis later in life. According to researchers, exposure to tobacco early in life through passive smoking in childhood are at increased this risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). AS is inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints. Passive smoking in childhood significantly increased the risk of RA in adult smokers.
To analyse the impact of active and passive smoking on the risk of developing RA, a large population of female volunteers born between 1925 and 1950 were prospectively followed since 1990. Passive smoking exposure during childhood increased the association between RA risk and adult active smoking. The findings suggested that in smokers, who had childhood passive exposure to smoke, the hazard ratio was 1.73 compared with non-smokers not exposed during childhood. In contrast, the hazard ratio was 1.37 in active smokers not exposed to passive smoke during childhood.
Lead study author Raphaèle Seror from University Hospitals of South Paris, France said that the study highlights
the importance of avoiding any tobacco environment in children, especially in those with a family history of RA. Out of 70,598 women, a total of 1,239 patients self-reported developing RA, of which 350 cases were eligible for analysis of the link to active and passive smoking and 280 in the analysis of the link to a history of an intestinal transit disorder. The mean age at inclusion in the study was 49.0 years; the mean duration of follow-up was 21.2 years.
To determine whether smoking is associated with more rapid spinal damage and disease progression seen on X-rays in AS patients, a detailed review and meta-analysis of all the relevant, currently available studies was conducted. The combined data taken from eight eligible studies suggested a significant association between smoking and cumulative spinal structural damage.
“Smoking constitutes a major risk factor not only for disease susceptibility but also disease severity in patients with AS,” said lead author Professor Servet Akar from Izmir Katip Celebi University Faculty of Medicine, Turkey. Smoking, among other risk factors, increases the risk of developing AS. The results of a study are presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) 2017 press conference.