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Smoking increases risk of TB recurrence

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Regular tobacco smoke increases the risk of recurrence of tuberculosis in patients, a new study has found.

The study published Monday provides critical new insight into the harmful links between smoking tobacco and developing TB, a release said.

“More than ever before, we understand how tobacco harms people who have already been successfully treated for TB,” said Chung-Yeh Deng of National Yang-Ming University in Taipei and an author of the study.

“No one should undergo the long, complex treatment for TB only to unknowingly place themselves at heightened risk of getting the disease again. With this research, we can inform national tobacco control policies and educate patients about the risks that smoking tobacco poses,” he said.

The study has been published in the April 2014 issue of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease which went online Monday, a release said here.

The researchers followed a large sample of 5,567 TB patients in Taiwan, each of whom had TB confirmed through bacteriologic testing and went on to successfully complete TB treatment.

Of those patients, 1.5 percent developed a recurrent case of TB, with regular tobacco smokers twice as likely to develop recurrent TB compared with former smokers and with individuals who had never smoked tobacco.

“Until this study was published, we didn’t have a clear sense of how smoking tobacco posed risks to TB patients who have put in the hard work of completing their treatment,” said Paula Fujiwara, scientific director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union), which publishes the journal.

TB is an infectious disease transmitted from person to person through air, typically through coughing or sneezing.

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2012 an estimated 8.6 million people became infected with TB, and 1.3 million people died from TB or TB-related causes.

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