Cigarettes appear to have a surprising link to yet another ailment: chronic lower back pain. A major Johns Hopkins study concluded that smoking, cholesterol and high blood pressure were risk factors for spondylosis, a degenerative disease that attacks the cushion-like disks between the vertebrae in the lower spinal column. As they dissolve, nerves in the spine rub against one another, causing pain and sometimes even total disability. The study found that blood-vessel diseases caused by smoking played a significant role in spondylosis and other back ailments. Put another way, just lifting a cigarette may be enough to throw your back out.