My father has Crohn's disease and smokes cigarettes. He says smoking makes him feel better by lowering his stress. Is this possible?
Smoking is a risk factor for Crohn's disease. It can also lead to other health concerns. The long-term health problems caused by smoking cigarettes far outweigh the temporary stress relief tobacco might provide. Even smoking just a few cigarettes a day or smoking only occasionally can cause problems.
People with Crohn's disease have higher rates of tobacco use than the general population. Smokers with Crohn's disease are also more likely to be hospitalized and experience more flare-ups, relapses and complications than do non-smokers who have the condition. For some reason, women with Crohn's disease are more vulnerable to the negative effects of smoking.
Urge your father to quit smoking. Suggest that he speak with his doctor about programs that can help. Also, encourage him to try stress-relieving activities that don't pose a health risk. These could include relaxation and breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, tai chi, resistance training, and low-intensity aerobic exercises such as walking and swimming.
Oct. 01, 2019
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- Dam AN, et al. Environmental influences on the onset and clinical course of Crohn's disease-part 1: An overview of external risk factors. Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2013;9:711.
- van der Heide F, et al. Effects of active and passive smoking on disease course of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2009;15:1199.
- Reddy RP, et al. Is there a threshold for the deleterious effect of smoking in Crohn's disease? Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2008;14 Suppl 2:S16-7.
- Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis: A guide for parents. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/guide-for-parents.html. Accessed July 3, 2014.
- Lichtenstein GR, et al. ACG clinical guideline: Management of Crohn's disease in adults. The American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2018; doi: 10.1038/ajg.2018.27.
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