Just one cigarette a day is hazardous to your health

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A recent study has shown that even if you smoke just one cigarette a day, the risks of early death are far greater than for people who never smoke.

By Allianz Worldwide Care | June 27, 2017

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No longer can it be said that one little cigarette a day never did anyone any harm. Researchers at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently published a study (1) in the JAMA Internal Medicine medical journal, in which they stated that smoking one cigarette or less on average every day throughout your life increased the risks of early death by 64%.

Warnings prove correct

 This figure rises to as high as 87% for those who smoke between one and ten cigarettes per day. "The results of this study confirm the validity of the warnings against the usage of tobacco, and the fact that there is no level of consumption that is risk-free," explains Maki Inoue-Choi, head of the cancer epidemiology division at NCI and the main author of this work.

For non-heavy smokers, giving up cigarettes reduces the risk of death compared with those who carry on smoking. The study also stresses the fact that the younger you stop, the more the risks diminish. Early death among regular but non-heavy smokers can primarily be attributed to lung cancer. The risks of dying from this disease are nine times greater for those who regularly smoke only one cigarette per day or less, than for those who have never smoked.

12 times more likely to die of lung cancer

For people who regularly smoke between one and ten cigarettes a day, the likelihood of dying from lung cancer is almost 12 times greater than for non-smokers. The researchers also pointed out there are five million tobacco-related deaths a year worldwide.

While the dangers of tobacco have been well documented ever since the US surgeon general published the first ever report warning of the dangers of smoking back in 1964, the effects on people’s health of the occasion cigarette had never been studied in detail.

(1) For the purposes of this study, researchers analysed medical data from over 290,000 Caucasian adults aged 59 – 82, of whom 22,337 (7.7%) smoked, 156,405 (54%) were former smokers and 111,473 (38.4%) had never smoked.

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