The Prevalence of Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study

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Sydney Weir MSPH
Hana Ahmed MD
Mia Broughton MD
Lauren C.S. Kole MD


hidradenitis suppurativa, tobacco, passive smoke, secondhand smoke, acne inversa



Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the skin highly associated with firsthand smoking. Secondhand smoke, defined as the inhalation of smoke from burning a tobacco product or smoke that is exhaled by smokers, and its relationship to HS has not been assessed. This study aims to determine the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure in the HS population.


In this cross-sectional study (N=136), surveys were both administered in a dermatology clinic and emailed to patients with HS, verruca vulgaris (VV), and atopic dermatitis (AD). Control groups were selected based on secondhand smoke associations: AD has a known association, whereas VV does not.


The survey response rate was 67.3% (N=136). We found that more than half of HS patients (58.73%) were exposed to secondhand smoke within the last 12 months, whereas 38.30% and 30.77% in the AD and VV groups were exposed, respectively (p=0.0209). Additionally, our data did not identify a significant correlation between secondhand smoke and HS disease severity.


Our study is the first to assess the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure in the HS population. However, due to the limitations of the study design and significant differences between study groups, we were unable to assess the true association between HS and secondhand smoke exposure. While our study did not identify an increased prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure in the HS population, it highlights an area for further investigation evaluating the relationship between passive tobacco exposure and inflammatory skin disease.


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