Although you don’t have a genetic risk for rheumatoid arthritis, new studies show that smoking can create one for you!

Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic autoimmune disorder in which our own immune system attacks the joins. It is systemic as it may affect skin, blood vessels, muscles and lungs. It is very painful and disabling and you should think twice before lighting a cigarette from now on.

The researchers studied 115 postmenopausal women with the disease and 466 women without and included information about their lifestyles like smoking, ages at which they woman started and gave up smoking and how many cigarettes they smoked every day.

The research showed that smoking increased the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis two fold in women who did not inherit the established genetic risk factor for the disease, HLA-DRB1 SE. But, women who did have the genetic risk factor were not at the bigger risk of suffering from the disease from tobacco smoke.

The research was limited to white menopausal women, so it would be hard to say if other age groups and ethnicities would be similarly affected.