If smokers think that by only having a few cigarettes a day they are unlikely to catch illness, then they are in for a surprise. It’s not just the people who burn through a pack or more a day that have a raised risk of disease. People who take a few smoke breaks a day — who make a pack last for a week — are still significantly upping their health risk. And that risk is a huge one.
New research, published in the journal Tobacco Control, proves the dangers of this health risk. Researchers found that smoking as little as one cigarette a day increases a person’s risk of death from lung cancer or heart disease. The findings will hopefully come as a shock to so-called “social smokers” who maybe have one or two cigarettes every day or so, but who are a far cry from being chain- smokers or habitual smokers.
In an absolutely mammoth, long-term study, Norwegian researchers wanted to see what effects smoking one to four cigarettes per day had on people’s risk of dying from smoking-related diseases. In the study, 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 non-smokers were. –Light-smoking women were five times more likely to die from lung cancer than non-smoking women were. –Light smokers had a one-and-a-half times higher risk of dying prematurely from all causes than non-smokers did.
The gist of the study is that 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. Smoking brings these toxins straight into your lungs and then to every part of your body. In light of this, here are some tips to get you started on the road to quitting this dangerous habit:
1) 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 relapse. 2) Take your mind off of smoking by altering your daily routine. Eat different things, go different places, and avoid things that remind you of smoking. 3) Get professional advice from either the American or Canadian Lung Association. 4) Ask your doctor about possible smoking aids such as bupropion, the nicotine patch, or a nicotine nasal spray. 5) If you’re having trouble, look into hypnotherapy and the power of suggestion. 6) Cut down on drinking alcohol. 7) “Lobelia” is the only known herbal remedy for smoking. Its main ingredient lobeline can stifle the smoking urge.