Psoriasis and Smoking

There seems to be little to be said for smoking on a positive note. It causes lung problems, circulatory problems and now it would appear that it may cause auto immune problems aswell.

Studies indicate that smoking contributes to the onset and severity of psoriasis. However despite considerable evidence linking the two the evidence at this stage is not conclusive.

It is believed that the nicotine in cigarettes is the main problem and nicotine is a major risk factor especially in palmoplantar pustular psoriasis which affects the hands and feets. In 2002 a Swedish study revealed that “95% of patients with palmoplantar pustulosis were smokers at the onset of the disease”. The theory behind this was that the body’s immune system became unbalanced and started producing antibodies that attract the cells they are supposed to be protecting thus causing the palmoplantar pustular psoriasis to develop.

In 2003 a Californian study revealed that nicotine increases the rate of skin cell activity and in the turnover of underlying skin structures. This means that the skin growth and wound repair mechanisms are altered similarly to how they are altered in psoriasis.

No doubt research will continue in this area until the evidence is conclusive. In the mean time it is just another good reason not to smoke!

Mel Sinclair, RN