MS and (smokey) environments


Did you know that people who smoke or even used to and quit are more likely to develop MS?
It’s a 1,6 times higher risk for current smokers and 1,2 times for those who quit.
And if this wouldn’t be enough, the chance of developing a more aggressive versions of MS (PPMS or SPMS) that lead to major disabilities even quicker is also 3-4 times more likely.
I was aware of that and quit regular smoking already some years before diagnosis but continued smoking occasionally until diagnosis in some situations when alcohol was involved.
Trust me, I blamed myself a lot for being a smoker when I got to know about the link between MS and smoking.

But I quit, shouldn’t it be fine now?
Well, I grew up in the 90s when smoking anytime and anywhere was still a big deal.
My parents used to smoke at home – indoors -, everybody smoked in restaurants and we even booked seats for smoking cabins in planes or trains because my dad couldn’t stand 2h without a cig.
I smoked for the first time when I was 8 years old. That seems insane from a nowadays standpoint…
I started regular smoking in the age of 13 and stopped with 24. I’ve never been a chain smoker but it has been frequently indeed.
I think this part of my biography contributed to the development of MS but in what proportion will be questionable forever.

But what’s now?
This chapter isn’t closed for me unfortunately and to be honest it’s a growing stress factor and turning point.
Besides direct smoking it has also been proven that passive / indirect smoking affects MS progression significantly as well.
Times have changed, people are more aware of health and meanwhile there are laws existing in most of the Western countries that forbid indoor smoking.
But in Eastern Germany it’s mostly only noticeable on paper – at least in my bubble.
I use(d) to work as a DJ until COVID-19 spread and as a former programmer in night clubs for almost 10 years now were smoking is still a huge and important part of personal “freedom” and culture.
Also the venues and bars I love to visit are pro-smoking and a lot of my friends are still smokers.
I don’t know what to do right now.
On one hand I feel really threatened by the thought (and well, it’s not just a thought it’s a fact) that others are affecting my well-being in such a harmful way and I really don’t want to be in smokey surroundings anymore.
On the other hand I do feel socially isolated already, disabled and hyper-controlled of what I do and how I do it to prevent disease progression – which means stress.
I don’t want to give up all the pleasures and surroundings I admire(d) so far because I’m afraid of the future.

Alongside shitty air quality in venues and affecting my normal sleep cycle every weekend, the stress of traveling around the globe, the aim to finish my full time pharmacy studies with less energy levels plus increased general disabilities compared to last year led to the question how to proceed with my job and passion.
I’m not sure now.
I reduced the amount of gigs already and Corona pushed that question away but it occurs again and I don’t feel comfortable going back into this harmful environment anymore.

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