Background: Smoking is a recognised risk factor for pancreatic cancer and has been associated with chronic pancreatitis and also with type II diabetes. Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of tobacco on the age of diagnosis of pancreatitis and progression of disease, as measured by the appearance of calcification and diabetes. Patients: We used data from a retrospective cohort of 934 patients with chronic alcoholic pancreatitis where information on smoking was available, who were diagnosed and followed in clinical centres in five countries. Methods: We compared age at diagnosis of pancreatitis in smokers versus non-smokers, and used the Cox proportional hazards model to evaluate the effects of tobacco on the development of calcification and diabetes, after adjustment for age, sex, centre, and alcohol consumption. Results: The diagnosis of pancreatitis was made, on average, 4.7 years earlier in smokers than in non-smokers (p = 0.001). Tobacco smoking increased significantly the risk of pancreatic calcifications (hazard ratio (HR) 4.9 (95% confidence interval (Cl) 2.3-10.5) for smokers v non-smokers) and to a lesser extent the risk of diabetes (HR 2.3 (95% Cl 1.2-4.2)) during the course of pancreatitis. Conclusions: In this study, tobacco smoking was associated with earlier diagnosis of chronic alcoholic pancreatitis and with the appearance of calcifications and diabetes, independent of alcohol consumption.
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