The reported rates of current smoking at the time of Crohn’s disease (CD) diagnosis tend to be low in East Asian studies. However, we hypothesized that East Asian patients may be reluctant to disclose their smoking history, likely because of the influence of the Confucian culture.
We prospectively re-evaluated the smoking status at diagnosis in 1,437 Korean CD patients whose smoking status had been reported in our previous study.
After re-evaluation, the current smokers at diagnosis increased from 388 patients (27.0%) to 445 patients (31.0%), indicating that 12.8% (57 of 445 patients) of the current smokers at diagnosis did not disclose their smoking status at their initial evaluation. The proportion of current smokers at diagnosis who had initially concealed their smoking status was significantly higher among the female patients (29.7%, 11/37) compared with the male patients (11.3%, 46/408) (p<0.005) and among the patients who were ≤18 years old at diagnosis (56.4%, 22/39) compared with the patients >18 years old at diagnosis (8.6%, 35/406) (p<0.001).
Subgroups of Korean CD patients, particularly young patients and female patients, are reluctant to disclose their smoking history. Therefore, the suggestion that smoking is not a risk factor for the development of CD in East Asians should be made with caution.