Does Smoking Affect People With MS?

Portrait of young woman refuses to smoke and breaks cigarette.

Portrait of young woman refuses to smoke and breaks cigarette.

If you have MS, smoking is more dangerous for you than it is for the average person.

The single most helpful lifestyle change anyone can make is to stop smoking. Smoking suppresses the immune system and causes heart disease, emphysema, and cancer (of the lungs, tongue, and throat, for starters). But smoking also increases the likelihood of developing MS and of the disease progressing, according to several major studies from around the world.

It’s not just the smoker who is affected: secondary smoke from parents increases the likelihood that a child will develop MS. Given the higher risk of MS in the children of people with MS, this provides even more motivation to quit.

Despite these risks, people with MS are more likely to smoke than people without MS. If you smoke, the best thing you can do for yourself – and for your kids, if you have any – is to stop. And the best way to quit is to do just that: Stop!

For more on smoking and MS, see the MS Encyclopedia.