Cigarette smoking, obesity, and bone mass

Charles W. Slemenda, Siu L. Hui, Christopher Longcope, C. Conrad Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Scopus citations


This study was designed to assess the effects of smoking on bone mass and bone loss and to ascertain whether these effects are independent of effects on adiposity and hormone concentrations. A total of 84 healthy, peri- and postmenopausal women were studied prospectively over 3 1/2 years. Heavy smokers had significantly (p < 0.05) lower radial and vertebral bone mineral content than light or nonsmokers (who did not differ from each other). In regression models, which contained measurements of obesity, pack-years smoking remained a significant predictor of bone mass. However, there were no detectable effects of smoking on rates on bone loss at any site. Smokers appear to be at greater risk of osteoprosis due to their lower bone mass. However, this reduced bone mass is already around the time of menopause, and rates of bone loss during this period do not appear to be influenced by smoking. Furthermore, we have previously shown in this population that menopausal serum estrogen concentrations (which determine rates of bone loss) do not differ between the smokers and nonsmokers. Further studies of larger groups are required to determine whether small differences in bone loss may exist, since the power to detect such differences was not ideal in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-741
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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