Smoking and osteoarthritis: a review of the evidence and its implications

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Mar;23(3):331-3. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2014.11.022. Epub 2014 Nov 29.


A number of reports including a recent publication in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage have suggested that smokers have a lower than expected prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) than nonsmokers. We review the evidence linking smoking with OA, suggest approaches whereby the direct and indirect effects of smoking on OA might be distinguished, highlight two diseases, ulcerative colitis and Parkinson's disease, where smoking is protective, discuss mechanisms by which nicotine might act and lastly explore the association of smoking with enhanced musculoskeletal pain.

Keywords: Nicotine; Osteoarthritis; Smoking.

Publication types

  • Editorial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / epidemiology
  • Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Pain / epidemiology*
  • Nicotine / metabolism
  • Osteoarthritis / epidemiology*
  • Osteoarthritis / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology*


  • Nicotine