Doctors confirm link between passive smoking in childhood and rheumatoid arthritis
Doctors have confirmed a link between passive smoking in childhood and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
The results of a study presented on Friday at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology has confirmed the link between smoking and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Interestingly, the research also suggested for the first time that in smokers, exposure to tobacco early in life through passive smoking in childhood significantly increased this risk.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common chronic inflammatory joint disease, causing progressive joint destruction, disability and reduced life expectancy.
To analyse the impact of active and passive smoking on the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a large population of female volunteers (born between 1925 and 1950) were prospectively followed since 1990. The research team found that passive smoking exposure during childhood increased the association between rheumatoid arthritis risk and adult active smoking.
In recent years, many potential environmental factors have been associated with an increased risk of developing the condition, but so far smoking is the only one that has been extensively studied.
Lead author Professor Raphaèle Seror, from University Hospitals of South Paris, says the findings highlight the importance of avoiding any smokey environment for children, especially for those with a family history of rheumatoid arthritis.