Among all women, one hip fracture in eight is attributable to smoking, regardless of body weight, early menopause and physical activity, according to a new meta-analysis.
The study showed that postmenopausal bone loss was greater in current smokers than in non-smokers. It concluded that smoking has a direct action on bone mineral density, decreasing it by an additional 2 per cent for every 10-year increase in age.
Compared to non-smokers, the relative risk of hip fracture was 17 per cent greater at age 60; 41 per cent greater at 70; 71 per cent at age 80; and 108 per cent greater by age 90.
Although the study concentrated on women, the authors note that analysis of studies relating to men suggest a similar decrease in bone density for them (BMJ, 1997; 315: 841-6).