Smoking is believed to trigger the development of hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) in some people. Stopping smoking may improve the symptoms or course of the disease.
What does it involve?
When you decide to quit smoking, choose a day to stop and make a plan. Make a list of reasons why you are quitting. Keep it where you can see it when you feel tempted. Spend some time thinking about when and why you smoke, your smoking triggers. Identify some coping strategies to distract or divert you when these situations occur. Make a list of 10 things you can do instead of smoking: Call a friend, eat a piece of fruit, go for a walk, play a game on your phone. Remove reminders of smoking such as ashtrays and lighters from your home.
Inform your loved ones and coworkers in advance that you are quitting and ask them to support you. There are also quit-smoking hotlines, text services, and support groups you can use to help stay focused on your goal.
You may decide to use nicotine replacement products such as nicotine gum, patches, spray, or lozenges. You can also ask your doctor for prescription medicine such as Bupropion to help reduce cravings and ease withdrawal. Make sure you have these on hand when you quit. As you give up nicotine, be prepared for symptoms of withdrawal, which may include headache, nausea, irritability, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue. These symptoms should ease within a few days.
Don’t get discouraged if you “fall off the wagon.” Be persistent and keep trying. Allow yourself to celebrate smoke-free milestones such as 24 hours, one week, and one month smoke-free. Treat yourself to ice cream, a trip to the movies, or another favorite non-smoking treat for each milestone.
Quitting smoking may increase chances for remission from HS. Smoking cessation may improve HS symptoms and slow the progression of HS.
In multiple studies of people with hidradenitis suppurativa, smoking has been found to be associated with more severe disease symptoms.
In one study of 427 people with HS, those who smoked were significantly more likely to require escalating treatment for their symptoms.
In one survey of 212 people with long-standing HS, 40 percent of nonsmokers reported achieving remission, while only 29 percent of smokers achieved remission.
There is no cure for hidradenitis suppurativa. Smoking cessation may improve symptoms and increase the chances for remission, but it will not cure HS.
Many people who are addicted to nicotine find it very hard to stop smoking.
If people around you smoke, it can be harder to stop smoking yourself. You may also be exposed to second-hand smoke.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Risk factors, clinical course and long‐term prognosis in hidradenitis suppurativa: a cross‐sectional study – British Journal of Dermatology
Hidradenitis Suppurativa – National Organization for Rare Disorders
HS FAQs – HS Online
Factors Associated With Point-of-Care Treatment Decisions for Hidradenitis Suppurativa – JAMA Dermatology