Tobacco smoking and hand eczema - is there an association?

Contact Dermatitis. 2015 Dec;73(6):326-35. doi: 10.1111/cod.12429. Epub 2015 Jul 3.


Background: Numerous risk factors have been suggested for hand eczema. This systematic review evaluates the association between tobacco smoking and hand eczema.

Objective: To review the literature systematically on the association between smoking and hand eczema.

Methods: The PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched up to 27 January 2015 for articles on the association between tobacco smoking and hand eczema, including human studies in English and German only. Experimental studies, studies on tobacco allergy, case reports, reviews and studies on second-hand smoking were excluded.

Results: Twenty articles were included. Among studies in occupational settings, three of seven found a statistically significant positive association between tobacco smoking and hand eczema prevalence rate, as did four of eight population-based studies. The association was stronger for studies in occupational settings than for population-based studies. No studies reported tobacco to be a clear protective factor for hand eczema. Two of five studies regarding severity found a positive association between smoking and hand eczema severity.

Conclusion: Overall, the data indicate that smoking may cause an increased frequency of hand eczema, particularly in high-risk occupations. However, data from studies controlling for other risk factors are conflicting, and few prospective studies are available. Studies controlling for other risk factors are needed, and information regarding the diagnosis of subclasses of hand eczema, as well as severity, may be important.

Keywords: hand eczema; review; tobacco smoking.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Dermatitis, Occupational / epidemiology*
  • Dermatitis, Occupational / etiology
  • Eczema / epidemiology*
  • Eczema / etiology
  • Hand Dermatoses / epidemiology*
  • Hand Dermatoses / etiology
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / adverse effects*