Recent studies from several countries have shown that smoking is a potent cause of chronic pancreatitis (JW Gastroenterol Aug 14 2009) and that the combination of alcohol and smoking is particularly toxic.
Smoking acceleerates the destruction of the pancreas for those with Chronic Pancreatitis.
Smoking is an independent, dose-dependent risk factor.
In the June 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine: "Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory syndrome of the pancreas characterized by progressive parenchymal fibrosis [scarring of the organ], maldigestion, diabetes mellitus and pain," the authors write as background information in the article. "Recurrent acute pancreatitis [acute pancreatitis that occurs on two or more occasions and may become chronic] and chronic pancreatitis are associated with alcohol consumption and cigarette smoking. The etiology of recurrent acute pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis is complex, and effects of alcohol and smoking may be limited to specific patient subsets."
Although the risk for pancreatic cancer is well correlated with the number of cigarettes smoked, it is only recently that various independent observers from the United States and abroad identified cigarette smoking as a factor influencing the incidence, and natural history of chronic pancreatitis.