An abstract I found regarding smoking and osteoarthritis:
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine studied the effects of smoking on knee osteoarthritis. They report while smokers with osteoarthritis are often younger and thinner, their pain and disease tend to be worse. Smokers are twice as likely to have significant cartilage loss compared to non-smokers.
The results of this study suggest smoking may alter pain thresholds, according to authors. Toxins from tobacco smoke may also contribute to cartilage loss.
SOURCE: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2006;166:2533-2538; Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 2007;66:18-22