Epilepsy and Smoking | CDC Features

Epilepsy and Smoking | CDC Features

Epilepsy and Smoking

Hands breaking a cigaretteIf
you have epilepsy and smoke, it’s important to quit

“Epilepsy” is a broad term used for conditions that affect the
brain and cause seizures. About 2.3 million adults in the United
States have epilepsy.1

A recent CDC study showed that about 20% of adults with active
epilepsy, and almost 22% of adults with a history of epilepsy,
currently smoke cigarettes. About 19% of adults without epilepsy
currently smoke. These new data show that people with active
epilepsy are as likely to smoke cigarettes as people without

About 48% of current smokers with active epilepsy tried to quit
in the last year, and 75% wanted to quit. However, less than half
(about 47%) of current smokers with active epilepsy reported that a
health professional advised them to quit smoking in the past

Everyone who smokes is at risk for serious health effects such
as stroke, coronary heart disease, many kinds of cancer, asthma,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and tooth

Doctor consulting with patient

Talk to your healthcare provider about quitting smoking

Smokers with epilepsy can:

  • Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) for free support,

    • Quit coaching.
    • A quit plan.
    • Educational materials.
    • Referrals to local resources.
  • Follow CDC’s tips on
    how to quit smoking
  • Read about the
    of quitting smoking.
  • Talk to their health care providers before taking any medicines
    to help them quit smoking, to check what’s safe to take along with
    their epilepsy medicine.
  • Learn more about managing their health from the CDC
    Epilepsy Program


  1. Kobau R, Luo YH, PhD, Zack MM, Helmers S, Thurman DJ. Epilepsy
    in adults and access to care — United States, 2010
    MMWR. 2012;61(45);909-13.
  2. Cui W, Zack MM, Kobau R, Helmers SL. Health behaviors among
    people with epilepsy—Results from the 2010 National Health
    Interview Survey. Epilepsy Behav. 2015;44:121–126. DOI:
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
    . Accessed February 5,
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