Smoking is a major risk factor for fractures. Smoking suppresses the osteoblasts (the cells that make new bone). The osteoclasts (cells that eat away bone) then can easily outdo the osteoblasts, and you lose bone mass. Lower bone mass = more fractures.
Stopping smoking altogether is the best for your bone health. That is really tough to do. E-cigarettes have not proven less harmful to bone. Nicotine patches help only if they eventually lead to less nicotine intake than with smoking.
The damage smoking does to your bones (and lungs, and heart) is dose related. Therefore, cutting way down is almost as good as quitting, and often much easier to do.
Especially if you are trying to heal a fracture, stopping smoking, even for a few weeks, is really important. 1 ppd smokers are 5 to 10 times as likely to not heal a fracture. The same is true for infection rate after surgery.
Steroid Inhalers also suppress osteoblasts and bone formation. Unfortunately many cannot get off their steroid inhalers, even after they quit smoking. Major bummer.
Take Control Naturally of your bone health. Stop Smoking. Or at least cut way back.
Jay Ginther, MD