Everyone knows that smoking is linked to cancer and heart disease but not many people know about how it can affect your bones, joints and muscles.

Effect of smoking on bone, joint and muscle health

Many of the bad effects on musculoskeletal health caused by smoking can be reversed and even avoided if you decrease or stop smoking.

Smoking reduces blood supply to bones and soft tissues. Nicotine within tobacco slows the production of bone forming cells and reduces the amount of bone forming calcium that can be absorbed from what you eat.  Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen available to your muscles during activity.

All of these factors combine to lead to the following risks

  • Increased risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of developing injuries to the muscles of your shoulder (rotator cuff)
  • Higher risk of developing low back pain and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Higher risk of overuse injuries like tendonitis
  • Higher risk of fractures (broken bones) or muscle and tendon sprains

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Get Help

If you smoke and would like support to quitHelp Me Quit Services are available by contacting: 0800 085 2219 or visiting www.helpmequit.wales for free NHS support to stop smoking.

Individuals can self refer to the service, which consists of one-to-one telephone based support, or walk in to a local community pharmacy for support.

Vaping Information

There has been a significant increase in the numbers of people using e-cigarettes.  They are often easily accessible and made attractive due to the flavours on offer, and the low cost.

E-cigarettes are used by people as a way to stop smoking.  Although research shows that these e-cigarettes are safer than ‘normal’ cigarettes and pipes they are not without risks, particularly as unfortunately, many of these products do not meet British Standards and are unregulated.  This means that they can contain harmful products in both the e-cigarette itself and in the e-liquid.  There is also a negative impact on the environment due to the use of plastics and lithium in the battery.

People should only be using e-cigarettes to help them stop smoking or stop them returning to using tobacco products as part of stop smoking plan.

Further information and advice on vaping:

Cancer Research UK 

British Heart Foundation

Public Health Network Cymru