Patients with MS who smoke have poorer QoL

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  • Smoking cessation may be a modifiable risk factor for impaired QoL in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

Why this matters

  • Characterization of US patients with MS who are active smokers may help inform interventions.

Key results

  • Overall, 11% of patients were current smokers, averaging 13.4 cigarettes daily.
  • Smokers had lower scores for health-related QoL (P<.001) and more disease activity (P<.05) and greater deficits in all Performance Scales and Functional Scales (P<.001 to .05) except for mobility.
  • Smokers had greater disability as assessed with the item response theory measure (P<.001).
  • Smokers were more likely to have had a relapse in the past 6 mo (adjusted OR, 1.66).

Study design

  • A cross-sectional survey of 950 US patients from the North American Research Committee on Multiple Sclerosis registry.
  • The main outcomes were health-related QoL (Short Form-12), disease activity (8 Performance Scales and 3 Functionality Scales), and global disability (Patient Determined Disease Steps and an item response theory summed score based on the Performance and Functionality Scales).
  • Funding: NIH.


  • The direction of association is unknown.
  • The cohort was largely non-Hispanic white.
  • Findings may have been affected by residual confounding.