If smokers think that only having a few cigarettes a day makes it unlikely to develop illness, then they are in for a surprise. It is not only those who burn through a pack or more a day who have a raised risk of disease. Anybody who takes a few smoke breaks a day, for whom a pack might last a week, is still significantly upping their health risk. And what a risk it is.
New research, published in the journal “Tobacco Control,” proves it. Researchers found that smoking as little as one cigarette a day increases a person’s risk of death from lung cancer or heart disease. That hopefully will come as a shock to so-called “social smokers” who maybe have one or two every day or so, but who are a far cry from being a chain-smoker or a habitual smoker.
In an absolutely mammoth long-term study, Norwegian researchers wanted to see what risk one to four cigarettes per day had on people’s risk of dying from smoking-related diseases. More than 40,000 men and women had their health screened in the early 1970s. Researchers tracked their health all the way until 2002. They found some definitive conclusions:
- Light smokers were three times more likely to die of heart disease than nonsmokers.
- Light-smoking women were five times more likely to die from lung cancer.
- Anyone who was a light smoker had a one-and-a-half times higher risk of dying prematurely from all causes.
The thrust: light smokers are endangering their health. In reality it shouldn’t be much of a surprise: after all, a cigarette is comprised of an incredible array of toxic chemicals and no fewer than 60 known carcinogens. It brings them straight to your lungs, and then on to every part of the body. But let’s end this on a positive note. Here are seven tips for kicking the habit:
- Toss out all cigarettes and ashtrays from your home, car and work. Set a day you will quit. Don’t allow smoking in your house. Don’t allow yourself a relapse.
- Take your mind off smoking by altering your daily routine. Eat different things, go different places, avoid things that remind you of smoking.
- Get professional advice from the American or Canadian Lung Association.
- Ask your doctor about possibilities such as the oral drug bupropion, the nicotine patch, or a nicotine nasal spray.
- If you’re having trouble quitting, look in to hypnotherapy and the power of suggestion.
- Cut down on drinking.
- Lobelia is the only known herbal remedy. Its main ingredient lobeline could stifle the smoking urge