Tobacco smoking and tuberculosis (TB) are major global public health problems, with 56% of active tuberculosis patients in South Africa being smokers. World TB Day, on the 24th of March aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to eliminate the disease. Let us take a closer look at the risk of smokers developing active TB.

The risk of smokers developing active tuberculosis

  • Compared to non-smokers, people who smoke have approximately twice the risk of both Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and active tuberculosis.
  • Cigarettes are one of the biggest contributors to TB patients defaulting on their treatment, resulting in other family members also contracting TB.
  • The risk of a poor tuberculosis treatment outcome is 70% greater in current smokers compared to never smokers. This is similarly true for patients who have recently stopped smoking. They have a lower risk of a poor tuberculosis outcome than current smokers.
  • Studies have shown that smoking is associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis mortality and relapse after treatment completion.
  • Smokers have a threefold greater risk of recurrent tuberculosis than non-smokers.

How does smoking cause and worsen tuberculosis?

  • Smoking can weaken defences and increase the risk of tuberculosis infection.
  • Smoking can have an irreversible inhibitory effect on the enzyme required by lung tissue to hinder the duplication of tuberculosis.
  • Smoking can decrease the ability of white blood cells to effectively launch a pulmonary immune defence.

If you are ready to quit smoking, we’re eager to help you on your journey.
Join SmokeEnders through Multiply and you will automatically qualify for a 25% discount offyour SmokeEnders classes because you’re a Multiply member.