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Smoking is dangerous to your health—everyone knows that.

But it’s also one of the most addictive habits that you could ever form. So it’s not quite as easy to stop lighting-up as you would assume. If you’ve ever tried to quit, you know this for a fact.

In the case of arthritis sufferers, cigarette smoking actually becomes more prevalent despite knowing that the habit will impact their condition negatively.


Anecdotal evidence points to the perceived psychological relief that smoking offers. Smokers often smoke when they are stressed—as a way of coping. And when you’re dealing with a condition such as arthritis, a condition that often isolates sufferers and puts additional pressure in their daily life, smoking becomes an easy way to cope.

Now, if you think that justifies maintaining a habit that could lead to heart and lung disease, take note: a new study finds that your rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk—one of the most common forms of arthritis— declines for every year you don’t smoke.

The study, which involved 230,732 female subjects, 1,528 of whom had RA, found that current smokers have significantly more risk of developing RA versus non-smokers. Additionally, findings highlight that smokers who quit were 37 percent less likely to develop the condition. In fact, the authors of the study believe that quitting smoking could not only delay the onset of RA, it could prevent it from developing at all.

The findings in their research are significant primarily because it underscores the positive impact of preventative behavior change for RA. Considering that RA is an autoimmune condition, discovering concrete reasons that could help prevent the illness could be potentially groundbreaking.

But at the end of the day, this is a study that gives smokers, especially ones that already suffer from arthritis, a reason to finally put the pack away good and resolve to stop smoking—which is something that we can all get behind.

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