Tobacco Smoke and HPV

Most tobacco cigarette smokers understand that smoking is damaging to their health. The warning labels on cigarette packets try and make that clear! In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease, what people may not know is that tobacco smoking is also linked to persistent HPV infections, worsening of HPV symptoms, and the development of cervical cancer.

In a study in the journal Cancer Science, it was found that smokers had twice as high a risk of persistent HPV infection compared to never-smokers, and in young-women, passive smoking since childhood reduced probability of lesion regression. And it was not just smokers who had negative outcomes, it was found that even childhood exposure to second-hand smoke may increase the risk of persistent cervical abnormalities in young women!

This could be in part because smoking diminishes blood levels of certain antioxidants, such as vitamin C, which impairs your immune system and your body’s ability to fight off infection. And remember that vitamin C is vital in the development of collagen (i.e. in your skin), so if quitting for your health is not motivation enough, quit for vanity – smoking ages your skin and contributes to wrinkles!

Simply put: if you have HPV, you need to make quitting smoking a top priority.

For help with becoming smoke-free, I’ve included links to some resources to help you quit smoking.

Good luck, and good health.

Resources for quitting smoking:

Some great journal articles: