Objectives: The association between cigarette smoking and bone mineral density was examined prospectively in a population-based study of older Caucasian men and women.
Methods: Smoking patterns were determined at a 1972-1974 baseline evaluation and, again, 16 years later when 544 men and 822 women had bone mineral density measurements taken.
Results: Men and women who were cigarette smokers at baseline demonstrated significantly reduced bone mineral density of the hip compared with nonsmokers. Baseline smoking was not associated with significantly lower bone density at non-hip sites. Women demonstrated a significant dose-response relationship between baseline smoking status at all hip sites measured. Both sexes exhibited significant dose-response relationships between hip bone mineral density and change in smoking status between baseline and follow-up, demonstrating that smoking cessation in later life was beneficial in halting bone density loss associated with smoking.
Conclusions: Smoking was positively and significantly associated with decreased hip bone mineral density in old age. Bone loss associated with smoking would be expected to predict an increased risk of hip fracture in those who do not succumb earlier to another complication of tobacco use.