One cigarette can’t hurt, right? As it turns out, a new study has discovered just that – it only takes one cigarette to have a negative impact on your health. This means that even if you only consider yourself to be a “social smoker,” you might want to quit while you’re ahead.
Researchers from the National Cancer Research compared the life expectancy of people who smoked an average of less than one cigarette per day to those who have never smoked in their lives. They discovered that those who smoked at a low rate had a 64 percent higher risk of premature death than those who have never used a cigarette.
Individuals who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes every day over the course of their lives had an 87 percent chance of dying early.
Lung Cancer and Smoking
The researchers went a few steps further to determine the risks of developing lung cancer after smoking cigarettes as well. To determine the odds, they looked at the same three groups of people – those who never smoked, people who smoked an average of one per day, and the people who smoked between one and 10 daily.
They found that compared to their non-smoking counterparts, the other two groups of cigarette users were nine times more likely to die from lung cancer. Those who smoked between one and 10 cigarettes per day were 12 times more likely to perish due to the disease.
“These results provide further evidence that there is no risk-free level of exposure to tobacco smoke,” the researchers concluded in their study.
E-Cigarettes for Quitting?
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are becoming a common alternative to traditional cigarettes. Many smokers are also using them to quit actual cigarettes, as they provide nicotine to quell their addiction. However, health experts are still unsure of how “healthy” e-cigs are, even as a means of quitting.
Many experts believe that there is still a lack of information out there on how effective e-cigs are for quitting, and there is little data on how many people are using the devices for this purpose. In some cases, people may simply be “vaping” as an alternative without a structured plan to entirely stop using cigarettes (of any sort).
As of now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is only beginning to evaluate and regulate e-cigs on the market.
Inoue-Choi, Maki. Liao, Linda. Reyes-Guzman, Carolyn. “Association of Long-term, Low-Intensity Smoking With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the National Institutes of Health–AARP Diet and Health Study.” JAMA. Published Dec. 5, 2016.
Painter, Kim. “Vape debate: Can e-cigarettes fight smoking? And how safe are they?” USA Today. Published November 13, 2016.
Rhodan, Maya. “Even Smoking One Cigarette a Day Can Lead to Early Death.” TIME. Published Dec. 5, 2016.