Smoking and MS


Dr Jeffrey Rodgers, MS Register Analyst

Jeff our analyst took a look at the results from the question we ask on smoking. His preliminary analysis was shortlisted for ‘Best Poster Award’ in the biggest MS conference of the year in Paris. ECTRIMS has over 10,000 delegates and 4000 poster submissions from the international community of MS researchers. Jeff’s work looked at how many of our participants smoke, or have smoked, and how do our participant’s reported habits reflect those of the national population?

Since 2014, the MS Register has asked participant’s about (tobacco) smoking in the questionnaire called ‘My lifestyle’. We ask: Have you ever smoked, if so how many and how often, have they quit, and if so the when?

Smoking graphic
Results showing how people answered the Smoking question on the MS Register.

This is higher than the 15.8% smoking incidence in for the whole UK population reported by the office of national statistics, although proportions of smokers by sex were similar

Despite the well-publicised negative effects of smoking and its impact on the efficacy of disease modifying treatments, a large percentage of people across all types of MS, at all ages continue to smoke.

A need for more information?

This could indicate that there is a need for increased information about the effects of smoking from clinical staff directly to PwMS. Additionally, relevant third sector organisations could highlight these impacts in the wider population, to affect a more profound change.

The NHS website has some great information on how to give up smoking. Take a look at their ten top tips.