"If You Have Crohn's Disease, Don't Smoke"
The title of this SharePost is a direct quote from three French researchers who investigated the relationship between cigarette smoking and Crohn's Disease. Many of the recent research findings leave little room for doubt about the relationship between tobacco and Crohn's Disease; cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for severe symptoms, surgery and relapse.
Individuals with Crohn's who smoke, particularly women and heavy smokers, run a high risk of developing more severe Crohn's Disease, and are more likely to need surgery and more medication as compared to non-smokers. Some in the research and medical community have assumed that the reason smoking makes Crohn's Disease worse is because of the nicotine in the cigarettes. However, this is a question still to be answered, and more research is needed to know for certain what ingredients in the cigarettes make Crohn's Disease more severe.
The good news is almost everyone I've met, who's living with or caring for someone with a chronic disease, has this in common - the disease has impacted them in unexpected ways, both bad, and good. In other words, when it comes to chronic disease, there is usually a silver lining to the whole affair. If you are a smoker and have just been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, maybe your silver lining will be that you finally find the support and resources you need to quit smoking. Cigarette smoking not only makes Crohn's Disease worse, but it carries with it multiple health risks, including chronic cough, reduced lung capacity, cardiovascular disease, and heart disease. You deserve better than that.