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Smoking Increases Osteoporosis Risk

At the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, Toronto, cigarette smoking was found to weaken the bones and increases fracture rate - new research reports//.

Smoking has long been known to increase the risk for osteoporosis in women, but the new studies, two conducted in Sweden and one in China, find that smoking also hastens the erosion of men's bones. In addition, the Chinese study demonstrates, for the first time, that even second-hand smoke can significantly increase the risk for osteoporosis and fractures in both men and women.

Bad News from GOOD Study

The deleterious effects of smoking can readily be detected in young bones. That's one conclusion from the Gothenburg Osteoporosis and osteoporosis(GOOD) study, which has been following the health of young Swedish men (see conference Abstract No. OC31).

‘Though smoking has previously been linked to low bone density in the elderly population, its effects on adolescents has remained controversial. Now, we clearly demonstrate that young smokers also have significant losses in bone density,’ said Mattias Lorentzon, lead author on the study.

Lorentzon, working with Prof. Claes Ohlsson and colleagues at the Center for Bone Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, measured bone mineral density--a measure of bone strength--in over 1,000 Swedish men between 18 and 20 years old. They found that in smokers, bone density in the spine, hip, and body as a whole, was lower than in their non-smoking peers. The most significant effects were in the hip, where the mineral density was over 5% lower than in non-smokers--typically, a 10% loss of bone mineral density doubles the risk of fracture.

Their results explain why previous findings have been equivocal. In this case the researchers used a sophisticated computer assisted X-ray machine (CAT scanner) to get three-dimensional images of bone. These 3D images showed that smoking primarily affects a specific t
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