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Smoking and Tobacco

Smoking and Rashes/Hives

08/13/2009

Question:

Hi, I`ve developed these ugly and ridiculously itchy rashes on my wrists and arms, as well as my thighs, and since I have no known allergies and practice pretty good hygiene, I`m beginning to wonder if these rashes have anything to do with smoking, or simply stress. (I haven`t found the time to actually go see a professional to find out.) I`ve been smoking for a few months now, and I wonder if it`s possible that it`s just a delayed effect of some sort. Your answer would be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Answer:

Sorry to hear about your rash. As to making an Internet diagnosis, well, probably not. You should see your family physician. However, I'm not aware that smoking cigarettes generally causes acute skin reactions, although there are reports of rashes associated with marijuana.

From the tone and substance of your question, you seem like a reasonable person. So why, "a few months" ago, did you start smoking? Let me guarantee you that smoking is an overwhelmingly more important problem than a rash on your wrist. Most people who start believe they will and can quit easily when they finish school, or the summer ends or there is less stress in their lives. Such thinking is quintessentially delusional.

Please talk with your doctor about quitting now before your brain is totally rewired by the nicotine. If you think you are bothered by a skin rash, give a little thought to your reaction to bladder or lung cancer, a heart attack, infertility or emphysema.

Good luck.

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Response by:

Rob  Crane, MD Rob Crane, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University