Washington: Women who puff heavily are likely to undergo more chronic musculoskeletal pain. Over 6,000 women aged over 18 years were surveyed on their smoking habits and symptoms of chronic pain by University of Kentucky researchers.

Results showed that women who smoke, or who were former smokers, had a greater chance of reporting at least one chronic pain syndrome in comparison to non-smokers, according to a Kentucky statement.

"This study shows a strong relationship between heavy smoking and chronic pain in women," said study co-author David Mannino, pulmonary physician in the UK College of Public Health.

Mannino describes acute pain as a "protective response" and theorises that perhaps female smokers experience acute pain that develops into chronic pain because their normal protection and mechanisms are damaged by exposure to smoke.

Former smokers showed a 20 percent increase, occasional smokers showed a 68 percent increase, and in daily smokers the odds more than doubled (104 percent).

Besides, daily smoking was associated more strongly with chronic pain than older age, lower educational attainment, and obesity.

"It's possible that patients experiencing chronic pain could benefit from smoking cessation treatment in addition to the treatment for their pain," said Leslie Crofford, director of the UK Centre for the Advancement of Women's Health and study co-author.

The study was conducted through the Kentucky Women's Health Registry, a database created by the UK centre and run by Crofford.