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Smoking and Psoriasis

Smoking and Psoriasis

How Smoking affects Psoriasis and How to Quit?

Smoking is a personal choice, and no one can stop you from quitting but you. Why do you have to quit? Maybe because your psoriasis not responding to treatments or diet, maybe nothing is working, and you know that smoking may be the reason your inflammation persists. The question is, is smoking worth the pain and suffering from psoriasis?

Psoriasis and smoking: links and risks

A study by Dr. Naldi (Board Certified Dermatologist and Full Professor of Dermatology in Italy since 2002 has been the director of an Academic Research Centre linked with the University of Milan, Centro Studi GISED. He is an editor of the Cochrane Skin Group and a founding member of the European Dermato-Epidemiology Network) indicates that;

“A number of inflammatory immune-related conditions have been associated with smoking, including psoriasis. Smoking affects the onset (start) of psoriasis.

In a pooled analysis of 25 case-control studies, the odds ratio of psoriasis among smokers was 1.78 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.53–2.06). A dose-effect relationship is also documented.

In a pooled analysis of three cohort studies, the risk of incident psoriasis was 1.81 (95% CI: 1.38–2.36) in those who smoked 1–14 cigarettes per day, and 2.29 (95% CI: 1.74–3.01) in those who smoked ≥25 cigarettes per day.

Smoking also impacts the clinical severity of psoriasis, its response to treatment, and explains some of the associated comorbidities, e.g., cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and several cancers (especially those of the respiratory tract).[1]

What makes smoking so harmful?

Let’s look at this article on cancer.org; Cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco are made from dried tobacco leaves. Other substances are added for flavour and to make smoking more pleasant. The smoke from these products is a complex mixture of chemicals produced by burning tobacco and its additives.

Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, including at least 70 known to cause cancer. These cancer-causing chemicals are referred to as carcinogens. Some of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke include: 

  • Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effects in the brain that people are looking for)
  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead
  • Arsenic
  • Ammonia
  • Radioactive elements, such as polonium-210 (see below)
  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

Many of these substances cause cancer. Some can cause heart disease, lung disease, or other serious health problems, too. Most of the substances come from the burning tobacco leaves themselves, not from additives included in cigarettes (or other tobacco products).[2] Psoriasis is now classified as an immune-mediated inflammatory disease, and above listed heavy metals and chemicals in smoke can worsen your inflammation through oxidative stress and trigger more flare-ups.

Here are some Key Facts by World Health Organization:

  • Tobacco kills up to half of its users.
  • Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year. More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
  • Over 80% of the world’s 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries.[3]

How to quit

Above information is not new for the majority, especially those diagnosed with Psoriasis long ago and have the experience. But knowing does not stop so many people from smoking. Addiction is so strong that people take their chances on health and smoke even with inner guilt.

But you know you have to quit in order to heal, so, if you are ready to take control of your health and quality of life, and most importantly, made the decision to quit, then, you could try these methods;

1) Talk to your Doctor about Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT).

It is considered the effective and commonly used treatment to help you quit smoking. NRT products will give you a controlled amount of nicotine but without the dangerous chemicals of cigarettes/smoking. Commonly used NRT product options are:

  • Chewing gum
  • Skin patches
  • Inhalers
  • Tablets
  • Lozenges
  • Oral strips 
  • Nasal spray
  • Mouth spray

Nicotine replacement therapy products are generally considered safe, and most of them available over-the-counter. However, you should always be on the safe side and talk to your doctor when choosing a suitable option for you and learn about potential risks vs benefits.

2) Try Hypnosis

Many believe that hypnosis can help and you can even learn to hypnotize yourself and instruct your subconscious mind to quit smoking. But what do the studies say, does smoking hypnosis really work?

There is no solid evidence to confirm that hypnosis really works. However, one study by Faysal M.Hasan et al. (2014) suggested that Hypnotherapy was more effective than Nicotine Replacement Therapy.[4]

Few more studies suggest a positive outcome but none 100% success rate. Logically, it depends on the person, their level of desire to quit, and how well they respond to hypnosis. But there is no harm in trying this method, and there are so many videos on youtube you can watch, try and see if it works for you.

Advantage of hypnotherapy is that it is drug-free, and you can safely try it at home. There are so many videos and audio materials available free of cost online. We have picked one by Paul McKenna, PhD., and international best-selling author whose books have sold more than seven million copies and been translated into 32 languages.

Or you can try this brilliant self hypnosis video by Michael Sealey, who is an Australian actor, and also Trained and Certified in Hypnosis and Clinical Hypnotherapy. His videos are praised for being effective in areas of sleep as it relates to anxiety.

3) Go Cold Turkey

A study titled “Does how you quit affect success? A comparison between abrupt and gradual methods using data from the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Study” Compared the efficiency of quitting gradually versus instantly, (cold turkey). and concluded that cold turkey should be the recommended strategy for smokers who want to quit on their own.[5]

When going cold turkey, expect challenges. Going cold turkey is hard if you haven’t fully decided and see yourself as non-smoker. To increase your chances to succeed, add and replace triggers.

1) Surround yourself with Non-smokers, and keep your distance from the smokers. People often relapse when they see other people smoke.

2) Rename the word smoking and cigarette to something you dont like, for example, let’s say you dont like Brussel sprouts, so rename “cigarette” to “Brussel sprouts” This is to trick your mind. In this case, instead of thinking “I want a cigarette” you now think “I want Brussel sprouts” Also, this will help you visualize Brussel sprouts instead of cigarettes. It might sound crazy, but it is effective.

3) Practice Affirmations daily. A lot of successful people practice self-affirmations because they really work well in reprogramming your brain. However, do you believe in what you are saying to your self? chances are if you are giving it a try, you want to believe, so keep trying until those affirmations stick. “What you think you become”

  • Here are some positive affirmations you can try, and you can modify and add your own. Just like hypnosis, you can find so many affirmation videos and recordings online.
    • I choose to stop smoking because……..
    • My breath and hair and clothes smell fresh.
    • My skin is regaining healthy glow.
    • My lungs are feeling better each day.
    • My breathing is improving every day.
    • I am strong and have control over down-pulling habits.
    • Enough is enough. I am now free of bad habits.
    • I prefer to breathe fresh air every day.
    • I choose good health.
    • My body is free from nicotine, and it feels good.
    • I am proud to be in control.
    • I deeply love and respect my body.
    • I am calm and relaxed.
    • I feel happy and elevated.

4) Replace

Peoples’ addictions arise from lack of connections and activity, in other words, you have nothing better or joyful to do than smoking. So, find a hobby, and try new activities that will give your sense of joy. At least keep your self busy. Meditation, Running, Walking, even Cleaning can help you stay distracted.


As we can see from the studies mentioned above, When we smoke, heavy metals and poisonous chemicals enter our body through tobacco smoke and causes inflammation and oxidative stress resulting in aggressive Psoriasis Flares and even can cause Psoriasis to start int he first place.

In the end, it’s all up to you. No one else can make the decision but you. Life is too short, so don’t let down-pulling habits control your health, emotions and future. Stay healthy, stay happy.

Disclaimer: Dear reader, any and all the content on OffPsoriasis.com Is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website.

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