Smoking is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, cancers, chronic obstructive lung diseases, liver disease, diabetes and pneumonia. It is expected to cause 1 billion deaths in 21st century.

However, it has one benefit. In a long term study, smokers were found to have lower occurrence of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Death rates due to PD were also lower in smokers.

30,000 male doctors were followed up from 1951 to 1998 (about five decades). The crude rates of PD death were lower in current smokers than in never smokers at baseline (30 vs 46/100,000 persons-years). Current smokers at baseline had a 30% lower risk of PD. Continuing smokers had a 40% lower risk of PD.

The reason for protective effects of smoking on PD are not well known.


1. Smoking reduces the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease.

2. Deaths due to PD are lower in current smokers as compared to never smokers.

The study was published in Neurology (May 6, 2020 issue) and can be accessed at the following link:

Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad

Published by Dr Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine) DM (Neurology)

I am a doctor with 25 years experience. I have worked as a neurologist for about 20 years. Educating public and healthcare professionals is very dear to me. This is possible due to my interactions with thousands of patients and their caregivers. I salute the patients who suffer and it is our duty to minimise suffering by preventing diseases and ensuring prompt diagnosis and treatment of those already affected.

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