Monday, September 3, 2012

Secondhand Smoke: Bone Loss

A major risk factor for osteoporosis is smoking. Active smokers average 4% less bone mineral density (BMD) compared to nonsmokers and they have a higher risk of fracture. But what about secondhand smoke? Do smokers increase the risk of osteoporosis to those non-smokers living in the same household? A recent study published in Osteoporosis International (Kim et al. 2012) says, yes.

Tobacco smoke, in addition to causing emphysema and cancer, can negatively affect bone health in several ways. "Nicotine, the most characteristic component of tobacco, is known to inhibit the formation of bone, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzopyrene, and 7,12-dimethylbenzanthracene are known to decrease bone mass and strength." Tobacco smoke also has "antiestrogenic effects and is also associated with low serum 25-OH vitamin D3 levels and low calcium absorption. Furthermore, menopause in female smokers has been reported to occur up to 2 years earlier than that in nonsmokers." 

In this study of over 2,000 postmenopausal Korean women, researchers concluded that secondhand smoke exposure "alters bone metabolism" and that there is a "significant association with increased risk of postmenopausal osteoporosis independent of other factors."

Kim, K.H., C.M. Lee, S. M. Park, et al. 2012. Secondhand smoke exposure and osteoporosis in never-smoking postmenopausal women: the Forth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Osteoporosis Int 10.1007/s00198-012-1987-9.
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