Once in a while, an Inconvenient Truth comes along to mess with the healthy living mantra 🙈🙉🙊
Here are the abstracts:
You can hardly fault the science. The association is repeatedly demonstrated in different populations involving large numbers.
Possible explanations for causality include uric acid as an antioxidant mopping up harmful free radicals from smoking, and toxins in cigarette smoke blunting the immune response to gout crystals.
Studies have previously linked smoking to increased risk for developing RA. It seems that if you've already got RA, smoking heavily is associated with lesser joint damage. Again, a postulated mechanism is that toxins in cigarette smoke may have a dampening effect on the immune attack on the joints.
But both smoking and RA are risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which can obviously kill; while joint damage won't, and we now have seriously good treatment to prevent that. The choice is obvious: stop smoking and get the RA properly treated!