Research Article

Oral contraceptive use and venous thromboembolism: absence of an effect of smoking.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 17 September 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:729
  1. D H Lawson,
  2. J F Davidson,
  3. H Jick


    We conducted a case-control study to test the hypothesis that women smokers who use oral contraceptives have an increased risk of developing venous thrombosis. Patients and controls were drawn from two sets of hospital patients already included in the Boston Collaborative Drug Surveillance Programme. Sixty patients with uncomplicated thromboembolism were matched with 180 controls with other diagnoses; all were premenopausal women taking oral contraceptives. Patients with conditions that might predispose to thromboembolism or be related to smoking were excluded. We found no association between smoking habits and thromboembolism. Similarly, we found no association between thromboembolism, smoking, and duration of oral contraceptive use. Thus we conclude that differences in fibrinolytic activity between smokers and non-smokers are not major factors in the aetiology of uncomplicated thromboembolism in women using oral contraceptives.