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Smoking cessation intervention for reducing disease activity in chronic autoimmune inflammatory joint diseases

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BACKGROUND: Chronic inflammatory joint diseases (IJDs) affect 1% to 2% of the population in developed countries. IJDs include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and other forms of spondyloarthritis (SpA). Tobacco smoking is considered a significant environmental risk factor for developing IJDs. There are indications that smoking exacerbates the symptoms and worsens disease outcomes.

OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to investigate the evidence for effects of smoking cessation interventions on smoking cessation and disease activity in smokers with IJD.

SEARCH METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Tobacco Addiction Group Specialized Register; the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), the Cochrane Library; PubMed/MEDLINE; Embase; PsycINFO; the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL); and three trials registers to October 2018.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomised controlled trials testing any form of smoking cessation intervention for adult daily smokers with a diagnosis of IJD, and measuring smoking cessation at least six months after baseline.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We used standard methodological procedures as expected by Cochrane.

MAIN RESULTS: We included two studies with 57 smokers with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). We identified no studies including other IJDs. One pilot study compared a smoking cessation intervention specifically for people with RA with a less intensive, generic smoking cessation intervention. People included in the study had a mean age of 56.5 years and a disease duration of 7.7 years (mean). The second study tested effects of an eight-week cognitive-behavioural patient education intervention on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk for people with RA and compared this with information on CVD risk only. The intervention encouraged participants to address multiple behaviours impacting CVD risk, including smoking cessation, but did not target smoking cessation alone. People included in the study had a mean age of 62.2 years (intervention group) and 60.8 years (control group), and disease duration of 11.6 years (intervention group) and 14.1 years (control group). It was not appropriate to perform a meta-analysis of abstinence data from the two studies due to clinical heterogeneity between interventions. Neither of the studies individually provided evidence to show benefit of the interventions tested. Only one study reported on adverse effects. These effects were non-serious, and numbers were comparable between trial arms. Neither of the studies assessed or reported disease activity or any of the predefined secondary outcomes. We assessed the overall certainty of evidence as very low due to indirectness, imprecision, and high risk of detection bias based on GRADE.

AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: We found very little research investigating the efficacy of smoking cessation intervention specifically in people with IJD. Included studies are limited by imprecision, risk of bias, and indirectness. Neither of the included studies investigated whether smoking cessation intervention reduced disease activity among people with IJD. High-quality, adequately powered studies are warranted. In particular, researchers should ensure that they measure disease markers and quality of life, in addition to long-term smoking cessation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Pages (from-to)CD012958
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note


    Research areas

  • Arthritis, Infectious/pathology, Arthritis, Rheumatoid/pathology, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Humans, Joint Diseases/pathology, Osteoarthritis/pathology, Quality of Life, Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic, Smoking Cessation/methods, Smoking/adverse effects, Spondylarthritis/pathology

ID: 59307446