Smoking increases risk for adult-onset atopic dermatitis (eczema)…

People who have ever smoked or who currently smoke are at increased risk for developing adult-onset atopic dermatitis (AD) (aka. eczema), say researchers.

Furthermore, non-smokers with AD are significantly more likely to have been exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) as children than those without the condition.

Writing in the British Journal of Dermatology, Hsin-Su Yu (Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan) and colleagues assessed tobacco smoking and ETS exposure in 83 AD patients, aged 58.1 years on average, who were diagnosed by physicians in adulthood (age 22 to 64 years) and 142 age- and gender-matched controls.

Overall, 53% of the AD patients smoked (current and ever) compared with only 18.3% of the controls.

Compared with never smoking, the team found that current and ever smoking increased the relative risk for adult-onset AD 4.99- and 3.62-fold, respectively. They suggest that there is likely to be a lifelong cumulative risk for AD in current smokers as each pack year increased the relative risk for adult-onset AD by 6%.

Of note, a significantly higher number of nonsmoking adult-onset AD patients had past exposure to ETS than controls, at 33% versus 12%.

“Although there are many potential risk factors contributing to development of adult-onset AD, this study provides convincing evidence of the association between both current smoking and exposure to ETS and the development of adult-onset AD,” write Yu et al.

“Further study is needed to understand the mechanisms underlying these observations and also to increase our understanding of other risk factors for adult-onset AD,” they conclude.

Br J Dermatol, MedWire

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