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March 2013

Smoking, a Dangerous Habit for the Skin

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, Rechovot, Israel; School of Medicine, Hebrew University and Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(3):366-367. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.2653

We are all acutely aware of the causal association of UV radiation exposure and skin cancers, and we warn our patients about the hazards of sun exposure. In the August issue of this journal, Leonardi-Bee et al1 published an important systematic review and meta-analysis on the effects of smoking on the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancer. Their study clearly demonstrated that smoking increases the risk of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, although it does not appear to modify the risk of basal cell carcinoma. Verkouteren and Nijsten,2 in commentary published in the same issue, shed light on the practical implications of the findings and explain how they translate into clinical practice. The authors of this comment justifiably urge us to take advantage of this association and “collaborate with smoking cessation programs as an element of good patient care,”2 suggesting that “physicians could make use of the current cancer experience in motivating patients to discontinue smoking, which has many additional important health benefits.”2

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