Just one cigarette a day can shorten life
Everyone knows that smoking is a health hazard. But some people think that those who only fall over now and then don't harm their bodies. But far from it. A new study shows that just a few cigarettes a day increases the likelihood of dying early.
Occasional smokers are also smokers
Years ago, an American scientist found after an investigation: occasional smokers are also smokers. "Because they mistakenly believe that they are not smokers and therefore do not intend to quit smoking, occasional smokers continue to face the consequences of tobacco smoking," said Dr. Wael Al-Delaimy from the University of California at San Diego, back then. And these consequences can be life-threatening, even with very low cigarette consumption, as a recent study shows.
One cigarette a day increases the risk of premature death
Smokers fall ill and not only die of lung cancer. Tobacco use also increases the risk of several other cancers and other diseases such as smoker's lung or smoker's cough, asthma, chronic bronchitis, as well as heart attack and stroke.
Not only people who smoke all day are exposed to such dangers, but also those who only occasionally flip. According to a study published in the journal “JAMA Internal Medicine”, even people who smoke less than one cigarette a day on average have a higher risk of premature death than lifelong non-smokers.
There is no safe level for smoking
"The results of the study support the warnings that there is no health-safe level when smoking," said lead author Maki Inoue-Choi of the National Cancer Institute of the United States (NCI) in a message from the "National Institutes of Health".
"The results show that smoking just a small number of cigarettes a day has significant negative health effects, and they show that smoking cessation has benefits for all smokers, regardless of how little cigarette they smoke," said the expert.
Tobacco consumption kills five million people each year
It is estimated that around five million people die from smoking every year worldwide. The study evaluated data from more than 290,000 Americans who were between 59 and 82 years old when the study started.
Among them were around 22,000 smokers, 156,000 ex-smokers and 111,000 lifelong non-smokers. Around 1,500 of smokers have traditionally consumed one to ten cigarettes a day. With 159 participants, it was less than a cigarette for life.
Increased risk of dying earlier
It was found that people who smoke one to ten cigarettes a day for a long time are 84 percent more likely to die earlier than lifelong non-smokers.
According to the information, of the 111,473 lifelong non-smokers considered, 9,821 (nine percent) died of cancer, cardiovascular or lung diseases that are related to tobacco use.
Among the participants who smoked up to ten cigarettes a day, 232 out of 1,493 participants (16 percent). According to the researchers, ex-smokers improved their life expectancy the sooner they quit smoking.
Deficits in the study
However, the scientists point out that the low number of registered smokers who consume less than one cigarette a day severely limits the meaningfulness of the data for this group.
In addition, more detailed information on smoking behavior was missing for the 159 people: Do they rather take a smoke every two days or do they smoke at a party once a week? In addition, there are also uncertainties, since the survey participants had to remember their smoking behavior decades ago. (ad)