Despite many studies correlating smoking with later onset of ulcerative colitis and probable decreased severity of disease, controversies still exist. This study evaluates correlation between smoking status and severity of ulcerative colitis among Iranian patients. This was a cross-sectional retrospective study. Patients with ulcerative colitis attending the Amir Alam Hospital gasteroenterology clinics in 2009 to 2010 were included. Smoking habits and severity of ulcerative colitis were evaluated depending on number of visits required to the clinic and related hospitalization in the past year, radiology results and pathology of patients. A total of 674 newly diagnosed and follow-up patients were included of which 304 (45.1%) individuals were men. Of these patients, 160 (23.7%) individuals were cigarette smokers. Nonsmokers on the average had 3.6 ± 1.8 and smokers 4.0 ± 1.4 visits per year (p = 0.02). Average number of hospitalizations per patient per year was 1.4 ± 1.1 for nonsmokers and 2.6 ± 0.7 for smokers (p < 0.000). Severity of illness in respect to pathology was stage 0 to 2 (mild) in 272 (40.4%) individuals and stages 3 and 4 (severe) in the remaining 402 (59.6%) individuals. Radiology showed mild disease in 270 (40.1%) and severe ulcerative colitis in 404 (59.9%) patients and the frequency was unrelated to gender or cigarette consumption. Unlike many studies from other countries severity of ulcerative colitis was not found to be correlated with smoking or nonsmoking status and average number of visits to physician or need for hospitalization were found to be higher in smokers which needs further studies for conclusions to be made.
Key words: Colitis, ulcerative, cigarette smoking, smoking cessation, severity of illness index.
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