As more and more women pick up light smoking, they should be warned that it does not come free of consequences.
A recent study points out that while smoking is clearly less popular than it used to be in the past few decades, its decrease rates might have reached an odd stagnation point. While more and more people are quitting their smoking habit, many more are finding solace in light smoking, that is often misinterpreted as being fairly risk free.
The study only analyzed this pattern on women, as it was performed on the results of a survey from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, performed on female subjects with ages from 18 to 25 only. Almost 10,000 women were part of this survey and this was clearly one of the reasons why it was chosen by study leader Dr. Carole Holahan, a researcher from University of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Holahan’s analysis of the survey found 60% of the women to be smokers and she went on to study the particularities of their behavior towards smoking. And so, she divided the women into “very light smokers”, a category that included those subjects who admitted to smoke at least part of a cigarette a month, “light smokers”, that included those women who did not exceed a daily limit of five cigarettes and regular smokers, that included all those subjects who smoked more than 5 cigarettes a day.
Surprisingly, 20% of the 10,000 participants considered themselves to be light smokers. And this kind of behavior includes those who have cigarettes only when they have coffee, those who only smoke on special occasions and those who have a non-smoking policy in their workplace and only get to smoke outside work.
Intermittent smoking, which means that cigarettes are not lit every single day, is also closely associated to light smoking, particularly among social smokers.
This type of approach on smoking is increasingly popular with women and it poses a particular threat, because light and very light smokers believe that they are safe from the dire consequences of smoking. And the worst aspect is that these people never consider quitting, because they fail to identify themselves as smokers.
“Social smoking has a price, and even the occasional cigarette truly is bad for you. Light and intermittent smokers face tremendous future health risks.” concludes Stephen Amrock, NYU pediatric medicine student, who was part of the team that developed the study.
The researchers conclude that more research should be performed on light smoking, because it might be the key element of future anti-smoking campaigns. Resolving this matter might lead to lowering overall rates even further and therefore is worth looking into on a more detailed note.
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