If you smoke and members of your family have psoriasis, here is a good reason to quit: You are increasing the risk that you too could develop psoriasis.
If you smoke and you have psoriasis, here is a good reason to quit: You may be making your psoriasis more severe, and you are making it harder for your dermatologist to treat your disease.
“Smoking tobacco can not only increase your risk of developing psoriasis, but it also can increase the severity of your disease,” says Albert A. Rizzo, M.D., chief medical officer for the American Lung Association (ALA).
Smoking also can make you less sensitive to treatment, says Ronald Prussick, M.D., an associate clinical professor at George Washington University and medical director of the Washington Dermatology Center in Rockville, Maryland.
A number of studies have shown that smoking increased the risk of developing psoriasis and having more severe disease:
- A study of nurses and other health professionals published in March 2012 in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that long-term smokers have almost double the risk of developing psoriasis compared with people who have never smoked.
- A smaller study of twins published in February 2016 in the International Journal of Dermatology suggested that heavy smokers are more than twice as likely to have psoriasis.
- Yet another hospital-based study from Italy, published in December 2005 in Archives of Dermatology, found that heavy smokers – those who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day – have twice the risk of having severe psoriasis.
- And finally, a study by researchers in Turkey of 276 psoriasis patients, published in July 2020 in Dermatologic Therapy, found that smokers may have an increased need for systemic treatment.