Quitting smoking

Hi all, I have wondered for years if me quitting smoking lead to my Ms?

i have just read an article about a lad that quit smoking then 5 weeks later started developing the MS signs, like this I felt my first symptoms within a month of quitting.

has anyone else had or heard of experiences like this?

According to the Barts Blog smoking increases your chances of getting MS by 50%.

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Much more likely to be Sod’s Law than cause and effect, I think. Although, as Whammel says, there is disturbing evidence to suggest that the fags might be the smoking gun (so to speak) for some of us with MS. But it’s smoking them that does the harm: not NOT smoking them!

Maybe you and I should both have given them up a bit sooner, A.T. Who knows what might have happened or not happened if we had? But there’s nothing to be done about it now, alas, so no point in dwelling on it.



The NICE guidelines actually say patients are supposed to be told at diagnosis there is NOTHING they did to cause it, as it’s not a “lifestyle” disease.

Unfortunately, too few consultants seem to bother with this, which could end a lot of fruitless soul searching about: “Why me?”, and “What have I done?”

Smoking is one of the very few lifestyle choices known to be a risk factor. However, I have never yet seen anyone go so far as to suggest it was a cause, let alone THE cause. A risk factor is very far from being a cause. Millions of people smoke, who never get MS, and thousands of people get MS, who have never smoked.

So IF you have other risk factors (mostly genetic) smoking might just be one thing that tilts the odds slightly more in favour of getting it - but it’s not a cause in itself, and I certainly can’t see how stopping could ever be.

I do wonder, though, if there’s any chance the nicotine buzz could have masked symptoms that, in fact, would have become apparent earlier. I’ve no scientific evidence to back this up, I just wonder if quitting smoking may have made any underlying health issues more noticeable. Other than that, just complete coincidence. As both Alison and Whammel say, far from smoking being protective against MS, it’s known to be a risk factor (although a 50% increase in a very small risk is still a very small risk…)



I quit smoking in August 1995

I got Transverse Myelitis (precursor to MS) in 2007

Connection? I doubt it.


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I hear that a dependence upon air is attributed to 100% of people who die.



Very interesting question. I’ve long been a bit dis-chuffed that I successfully gave up smoking cigs (the hardest thing I ever did!) and it was then that the whole MS malarkey raised its ugly head… I’m wondering now if the two things could be related. My nicotine addiction is still going, but I satisfy it with Nicorette spray. And my MS hasn’t been that bad, well certainly not compared to what others are going through! I’m wondering if the nicotine is protecting me from the worst of it, strange as it may sound, and whether I’d be a lot worse without it… who knows?

Fracastorius (Jane)

That’s exactly what I was wondering Jane, it’s the drug nicotine that is supposed to help, in the Brad blog he used nicotine patches and apparently they helped prolong the symptoms

obviously smoking cigarettes is detrimental to Ms as others have pointed out, when I’ve looked into this more "snuff " seems to be the way to take it

Funny - I am off fags a good few years now but still miss them like mad - I did read somewhere that nicotine was great for pain relief and i can see that from the posts on here…

everything in moderation… and so maybe mix some tobacco in with your cannabis joints?

(the above advice being pertinent only to those ‘stoners’ lucky enough to dwell within Durham Police’s jurisdiction, of course)

I stopped smoking 6 months ago, and had a massive relapse four weeks after stopping, from which I’m still recovering. It was my first relapse for 8 years, although I had been previously been told I had SPMS. I would like to say that stopping smoking has made me feel better, but it hasn’t. I was a light smoker…only about 5 cigarettes a day, but even so I found the process of stopping very stressful. I think that’s what the link between my stopping and the relapse was. I also feel that nicotine masked, and eased some symptoms like pain, and emotional lability which I’m now struggling with. I found an interesting article when I googled Nicotine as therapy, as it discussed the use of Nicotine for nerve pain. Sorry I don’t know how to paste the link. I’m not suggesting for one minute that people should take up smoking or nicotine, but if you’re planning to stop just make sure you do it very, very gradually. That’s my advice. Also, if you’re a smoker, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty. Having MS is bad enough without people making you feel you are in some way responsible because you have either done too much or too little of something in your life. I’ve had MS for 30 years, and I’ve heard it all. Good luck to anyone trying to stop smoking. Be kind to yourself.


in complete agreement with Kara’s post. I tried to give up several weeks ago and failed. I am a ‘light’ smoker, 8-10/day max but realised my attempts to quit not only made me want to smoke far more, but also stressed me out completely. So now back to having the odd one and feeling happy :-)))


I’ve read the same - neuropathic pain in particular. Also that nicotine is good for psychological pain as well as physical - the theory being that it is no coincidence that people with serious mental illness are much more likely than average to smoke heavily - they are self-medicating.

It’s too bad the fags make you smelly, poor and dead, it really is, but there you go. I only miss them once in a blue moon. I hope it gets easier for you.


I was using a nicotine replacement five years ago when I had my last and severest relapse. I neither ate or used the replacement for about a week as I was too ill to bother with anything. I gradually started eating again craving things like fruit, steak and peanuts I couldn’t bear the nicotine replacement and I haven’t touched it or smoked since. My theory is that when our bodies go through a severe illness or trauma then our bodies know what is good for us and shuns what isn’t.

To A.T the original poster I really don’t think stopping smoking would cause MS but I do think there is a definite case for nicotine relieving stress.

To all those trying to give up my sympathies are with you it’s a very difficult thing to do but well worth doing.

Jan x


I have been toying with the idea of getting one of them vapour ciggies and if i ever really crave one - as has been said, smoking is bad for you but so is obesity…they say sitting is the new smoking…my gp said to me one time was that the problem with smoking was smoking too much and the odd fag wouldn’t do you anymore harm than alot of other things…hard to know…

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3 & a half years without!!! I bought a vape pipe & would never go back on tobacco, ever. Do like my “precious” though!!! Glad I did, & I now can’t stand the smell of ciggie smoke. If you get a vape try the fruit flavours, even had vodka in mine Tracey x

Thanks Tracey - defo will give it a try because I think i will always be a smoker at heart…

i cannot stand the smell of ciggie smoke either. i find it to be absolutely abhorrent now. and i can sense it over very long distances.

nothing worse than an ex-smoker. but i find myself feeling such pity for those still sucking away on those paper tubes…

I used an e-cig for a few weeks at the beginning 6 months ago, but stopped as I wanted to be free of nicotine. However I started using it again a few days ago, as I wondered if it would help with some of my symptoms. I feel much more relaxed and less emotionally fragile already. I’m hoping it will help with pain also. I don’t take any medication for MS at all anymore as I can’t bare the side effects. I think a small amount of nicotine will do me a lot less harm than some of the awful drugs I’ve been on over the years. Just make sure you use a very low nicotine juice, and buy it from a proper Vapour Shop.

Just read your post on smoking it wouldn’t hurt to have a few would it? how long you been on tecfidera?