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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition where the immune system attacks itself. MS affects the brain and spinal cord, leading to vision, movement, and balance problems. Over time, many studies have investigated the link between multiple sclerosis and smoking. Multiple Sclerosis News Today reports a serious conclusion: a smoker’s risk of developing MS is 1.5 times higher than non-smokers. This is because smoking damages the immune system, already weakened by this autoimmune disease. Additionally, people with MS experience more severe symptoms. If you’re an MS patient who smokes, the following information might be beneficial.

Smoking’s effects on MS patients

Cureus Journal of Medical Science study found that tobacco increases the risk of autoimmune diseases. Tobacco contains free radicals, which are unstable atoms that damage cells. When inhaled, it elevates proinflammatory cytokine levels. Cytokines are small proteins that control the growth and activity of immune system cells. Proinflammatory cytokines encourage persistent autoimmunity. Since MS is already an autoimmune disease, smoking thus serves to exacerbate its effects.

The same study concluded that smoking also affects cognitive functions in MS patients. This is caused by high concentrations of tar in cigarette smoke that reduce gray matter fractions in the brain. Gray matter makes up the brain’s outermost layer and is responsible for retaining memories, controlling movement, and regulating emotions.

Given these combined effects, MS patients should seriously consider quitting smoking.

How to quit smoking

Use alternative nicotine products

Nicotine products—like pouches and patches—don’t produce smoke but still deliver a dose of nicotine. Nicotine pouches are oral products placed between your upper lip and gum for nicotine absorption. The pouches sold on Prilla.com come in different flavors like citrus and mint to suit your personal tastes. They are available in various strengths ranging from 2mg to 15mg to lower your nicotine intake gradually. They can also be conveniently delivered to your doorstep. This means you won’t have to travel physically, especially if your MS symptoms cause imbalances and mobility difficulties.

Meanwhile, nicotine patches are placed on the skin, where nicotine is absorbed into the bloodstream. The patches by NicoDerm CQ can be worn for 24 hours for your convenience. Their transparency makes them unnoticeable, which is helpful if you’re uncomfortable with others commenting on your past smoking habits as an MS patient.

Call a tobacco-quitting hotline

Call a how-to-quit hotline is a way to access professional help to assist the smoking cessation journey. The Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine connects callers with a professionally trained quit coach who can help you develop a personalized quitting strategy. Since you have MS, you can inform the quit coach of your smoking background along with your MS symptoms. This helps develop a personalized plan, increasing its effectiveness. Lastly, this service is free for all Tennesseans, so no need to fear the cost of this support. Quitting hotlines benefits MS patients because they don’t need to leave their homes and experience symptom discomforts like fatigue in public places.

Smoking makes MS worse by increasing autoimmunity and disrupting brain functions. You can stop smoking today by using alternative nicotine products and calling a quitting hotline. For further support with medications and infusions TwelveStone Health is here to aid your recovery and make living with MS a little easier. With support from TwelveStone, patients are able to hold symptoms at bay through access to infusion services near home.