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Epilepsy and Smoking

Hands breaking a cigaretteIf you have epilepsy and smoke, you are increasing your chances for other serious health problems. Learn steps that can help you quit smoking.

"Epilepsy" is a broad term used for conditions that affect the brain and cause seizures. About 2.4 million adults in the United States have epilepsy.1,2

A recent CDC study showed that about 20% of adults with active epilepsy, and almost 22% of adults with a history of epilepsy, currently smoke cigarettes. About 19% of adults without epilepsy currently smoke. These new data show that people with active epilepsy are as likely to smoke cigarettes as people without epilepsy.3

About 48% of current smokers with active epilepsy tried to quit in the last year, and 75% wanted to quit. However, less than half (about 47%) of current smokers with active epilepsy reported that a health professional advised them to quit smoking in the past year.3

Everyone who smokes is at risk for serious health effects such as stroke, coronary heart disease, many kinds of cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and tooth loss.4

Doctor consulting with patient

Talk to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking

Smokers with epilepsy can:

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support, including
    • Quit coaching.
    • A quit plan.
    • Educational materials
    • Referrals to local resources.
  • Follow CDC's tips on how to quit smoking.
  • Read about the benefits of quitting smoking.
  • Talk to their healthcare providers before taking any medicines to help them quit smoking, to check what's safe to take along with their epilepsy medicine.
  • Learn more about managing their health from the CDC Epilepsy Program.

References

  1. Kobau R, Luo YH, PhD, Zack MM, Helmers S, Thurman DJ. Epilepsy in adults and access to care — United States, 2010. MMWR. 2012;61(45);909-13.
  2. US Census Bureau, Population Division [database online]. Annual estimates of the resident population by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin for the United States, States, and Counties: April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2013. Release Date: June 2014.Accessed February 10, 2016.
  3. Cui W, Zack MM, Kobau R, Helmers SL. Health behaviors among people with epilepsy—Results from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey. Epilepsy Behav. 2015;44:121–126. DOI: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.01.011.
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking. Accessed January 21, 2016.
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