Cigarette being snapped

Smokers with MS now have another reason to kick the habit

Published: 24 January 2022

Smokers with MS are more likely to have anxiety and depression than MSers who don’t smoke, a new systematic review has found.

Across all of the studies analysed, smoking was associated with a 1.3-2.3 times higher depression prevalence, and around a 1.2 times higher rate of anxiety.

The results indicated that stopping smoking seemed to help anxiety levels, but not depression.

Researchers said more studies were needed to investigate the links because of the different ways the studies in the review were reported made interpreting the results challenging.

It’s well established that smoking is linked with MS development, plus worse disability progression and higher risk of relapsing remitting MS converting to secondary progressive.

Overall, smoking was linked with a 20% increase in risk of anxiety. One study found depression in current smokers was found to be 2.3 times higher than in non-smokers,  and another found depression increased at a faster rate in current smokers than in those who had never smoked.

The researchers suggested the link could be due to tobacco’s inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects and noted this might negate the immune-modulating effects of disease-modifying therapies.

If you want to quit smoking, call MS-UK’s Helpline on 0800 783 0518 and download our MS and Smoking Choices booklet.