Analysis strengthens link between smoking and increased fracture risk in men

Smoking increases the risk of breaking a bone by as much as 37%, researchers found

Women are more than four times more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, but a new meta-analysis by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has found men who smoke are closing that gap.

The UNLV researchers analyzed nearly 30,000 broken-bone cases reported in 27 research publications during the past 30 years and found that smoking increases the risk of breaking a bone by as much as 37%.

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Because men are more likely than women to smoke, they are “placing themselves at a significantly increased risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures and early death,” the university wrote in a press release.

The UNLV researchers said their study bolsters previous data that found smoking increases the chance of spine and hip fractures in men to 32% and 40%, respectively.

“Smoking is a major risk factor for osteoporosis and risk of fracture,” said study lead author Qing Wu, a researcher with UNLV’s School of Public Health and the university’s Nevada Institute of Personalized Medicine. “Men tend to smoke more than women, increasing their risk for osteoporosis, which has traditionally been thought of as a women’s disease.”

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According to the National Council on Aging, osteoporosis affects about 54 million people in the United States. Smoking increases your risk of osteoporosis by preventing your body from using dietary calcium, NCOA states.

“Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States,” the researchers wrote. “Smoking cessation would greatly reduce fracture risk in all smokers, particularly in men.”

The meta-analysis was published last week in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

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