Smoking and Musculoskeletal Injury Risk

By Shirley Archer, JD, MA
Mar 19, 2018

Researchers have identified more reasons to quit smoking and to alert any clients who do smoke. A recent research review on smoking and musculoskeletal injury risk in military trainees found that for those who smoked, injury risk was 31% higher for men and 23% higher for women. The risk grew as smoking levels increased. For example, among the heaviest smokers, risk increased up to 84% for men and up to 56% for women.

This review was limited to military service members, who have a higher incidence of smoking than civilians. Study authors noted that the relationship was associational and that not all studies controlled for other factors, such as alcohol use, fitness and body mass index. However, the consistency and strength of the association and the fact that it was found among both men and women and reflected a dose-response relationship strengthen the finding that smokers are at increased risk of musculoskeletal injury.

The study is published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2017; doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001349).


Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at

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