Nicotine exposure and parkinson disease

Dennis G. Haack, Robert J. Baumann, Harlley E. Mckean, H. Douglas Jameson, John A. Turbek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The observed inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson disease has prompted suggestions that nicotine, a centrally active agent, might protect against the disease. in this case-control study, cases were found to have ever regularly smoked cigarettes significantly less frequently than sex-, race-, and age-matched neighbors. This report analyzes the detailed smoking histories of cases and neighbors to see if these histories support the nicotine protection hypothesis. Estimated nicotine exposure before age at onset of symptoms for smoking cases was 186.1 g; for smoking controls it was 208.3 g (p = 0.34). Among the cases, severity of disease was not related to the extent of nicotine exposure before disease onset. Age at onset of symptoms for smoking cases (52.7 years) was not delayed (57.8 years for nonsmoking cases). Since the study was unable to find further support for the nicotine protection hypothesis, it is concluded that the observed inverse relationship between smoking and Parkinson disease is likely explainable by other factors, such as selective mortality or pre-morbid behavioral and/or constitutional changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-200
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1981

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received for publication September 10, 1980, and in final form February 11, 1981. 1Biostatistics/Epidemiology Section, Tobacco and Health Research Institute, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506. (Reprint requests to Dr. Haack.) 1Department of Neurology, University of Kentucky. 1Department of Statistics, University of Kentucky. Supported by University of Kentucky Tobacco and Health Research Institute Project No. KTRB 25124. This paper was presented at the annual meeting of


  • Encephalitis
  • Family health
  • Influenza
  • Nicotine
  • Parkinson disease
  • Retrospective studies
  • Smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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