As we’ve discussed in our book and blog, there’s a misconception that light smoking (smoking a few cigarettes a day) isn’t too bad. After all, many other unhealthy things we do in moderation are probably not too bad. For instance, if someone who has an otherwise healthy diet and is physically active indulges their sweet tooth a little with a cookie or a candy bar here and there, for the most part, it probably won’t affect their health too much.
Not so with smoking. I’m not going to suggest that smoking 1 or 2 cigarettes a day is as bad as smoking 2 packs, but its harmful effects are proportionally much worse than almost any other unhealthy habit. New research from University College London shows that people who smoke as little as 1-4 cigarettes daily TRIPLE their risk of having a heart attack.
Only 1 in 7 light smokers felt that they were addicted, but only a quarter believed that light smoking significantly impacts one’s health.
So, if you’re a social smoker, or like to have one in the evening with a beer (or one in the morning with your coffee), then at the very least know that it’s harming your body much more than you may realize. Maybe this will spur you to quit completely. Because you smoke so little right now, it will probably be much easier to quit than if you were puffing away on one or two packs a day. Furthermore, many light smokers only do it for social reasons, such as when they go out with friends. Otherwise, smoking isn’t a part of their daily routine. If this describes you, then by tweaking your social life a bit (e.g. hanging out in smoke-free areas), quitting should really be no big deal.
(Image links to source: Wikimedia Commons.)