It is a popular belief that light smoking is virtually harmless, but a recent study points out that this practice still comes with health risks.
The study was conducted by the University of Texas at Austin and led by Dr. Carole Holahan and it was based on the close analysis of the data relayed by the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
A total of 9,789 women, with ages between 18 and 25, were selected as subjects and their smoking patterns constituted the focus of the study. Dr. Holahan identified 60% of subjects as smokers, a term that included people who smoked a minimum of a part of a cigarette in a period of 30 days.
Half of the women in the study said that they do not smoke every day; this was defined as intermittent smoking. This is a very popular pattern and it usually takes the form of social smoking, which is when people light up a cigarette on social occasions only.
While that first cigarette usually leads to many more, a social smoker will not feel the need to smoke the next day, or at least not as strongly as a heavy smoker does.
However, a whopping 20% of participants were identified as light smokers, which the study defined as those smokers who have a maximum of five cigarettes in a day’s time.
This seems to be the most common pattern among women at the moment and it is of the utmost importance that they be aware of the fact that this still has severe long term consequences on their health.
“Even light smoking can triple the lifetime risk of heart disease. More efforts need to be directed at this cohort of emerging young women who smoke lightly.” bluntly points out lung specialist Dr Len Horovitz in an interview with HealthDay.
The worst fact about light smokers is that they do not acknowledge themselves as smokers in most cases and they do not consider the health risks associated with the practice. Furthermore, they are significantly less likely to ever quit smoking altogether.
For a person to solve a problem related to him or herself, the fist and indispensable step is to acknowledge that there is something there that needs fixing, that there is a problem to begin with.
Therefore, it is precisely because light smokers, who might also be intermittent smokers and social smokers, do not recognize their behavior as actual smoking that they cannot get rid of the habit.
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