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Smoking, Vaping and Heart Disease: The Impact of Tobacco

Just one cigarette won’t hurt, right? According to a new study, steering clear of cigarettes and tobacco altogether might be worth it for the sake of your health.

Recently, a group of researchers from the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London wanted to look at how cigarettes negatively impacted the body – specifically the heart. Allan Hackshaw and his team looked at data from studies dating back to 1946. They noted how many cigarettes people reported smoking and observed what happened to these individuals over time (“Just one cigarette raises heart disease risk, study finds,” 2018).

“We have shown that a large proportion of the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke comes from smoking only a few cigarettes,” Hackshaw’s team wrote in its study, published in British Medical Journal’s online publication The BMJ. “This has important consequences for smokers who believe that light smoking carries little or no harm.”

For men, in particular, smoking just one cigarette per day on average raised the risk of heart disease by 48 percent, compared to avoiding tobacco altogether. For women, smoking one cigarette per day raised the risk of heart disease by 57 percent.

“No safe level of smoking exists for cardiovascular disease,” Hackshaw and his team concluded. “Smokers should quit instead of cutting down, using appropriate cessation aids if needed, to significantly reduce their risk of these two common major disorders.”

Is Vaping the Solution?

Many people are turning to e-cigarettes, or vaping, to reduce their reliance on nicotine and tobacco. Some people are even using e-cigarettes as a means to quit smoking altogether, but is it worth it?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently conducted a report based on an analysis of 800 peer-reviewed studies to gauge the health effects of e-cigarettes. Some of the studies, including one from the Royal College of Physicians, concluded that e-cigs are up to 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes (“New federal e-cig review proves mixed bag in determinations,” 2018). However, other reports deemed e-cigs a gateway drug, especially for teenagers.

“E-cigarettes cannot be simply categorized as either beneficial or harmful,” said David Eaton, the chairman of the committee that wrote the report.

That being said, there may be no true “healthy” alternatives to cigarettes or e-cigs other than steering clear of the products altogether. On the flip side, opting out of smoking and vaping can do your heart a big favor in the long-run.

References

Craver, Richard. “New federal e-cig review proves mixed bag in determinations.” Retrieved January 29, 2018, from http://www.greensboro.com/townnews/company/new-federal-e-cig-review-proves-mixed-bag-in-determinations/article_0642c0c4-31fa-5009-9cbe-f030f920bef8.html.

Fox, Maggie. “Just one cigarette raises heart disease risk, study finds.” Retrieved January 29, 2018, from https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/just-one-cigarette-raises-heart-disease-risk-study-finds-n840846.