A new study appears to confirm that there is no safe level of exposure to cigarettes. Light smoking and not smoking every day are perceived by many to be effective strategies for reducing the health risks associated with tobacco use, but this appears to not be true. The findings make it clear that all smokers can benefit from smoking cessation, including those who are light or intermittent smokers.

Skull with burning crossed cigarettes as  symbol of smoking danger.Long-time, and light smokers, even those who smoked less than 1 cigarette a day, had significantly higher mortality risks compared with individuals who had never smoked and smokers who had kicked the habit. Compared with people that had never smoked, long-time smokers who reported smoking less than 1 cigarette a day had a 64% increase in mortality over the study period, and those who reported consistently smoking 1 to 10 cigarettes a day had an 87% greater chance of dying.

Many people think smoking less than 1 cigarette a day won’t affect their health. In surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of daily smokers reported smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes a day in 2005, compared with 27% in 2014, and during this period the percentage of smokers who reported not smoking every day increased from 19% to 23%.

Young woman with broken cigarette. Stop smoking concept.There have not been many studies looking at the health affects of light smoking, only a few cigarettes a day, which lead many to believe there were no health consequences. This does not seem to be the case.  Most people who smoked fewer than 10 cigarettes per day at baseline reported smoking substantially higher numbers of cigarettes per day earlier in their lives.  Former smokers who had consistently smoked fewer than one cigarette daily or 1 to 10 cigarettes daily had progressively lower risks with younger age at cessation.


The researchers concluded that studies are needed to examine the health risks of low-intensity cigarette smoking in combination with electronic nicotine-delivery systems and other tobacco products.

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