Occasional Smoking Could Still Result to Earlier Death, Study Suggests
A new study revealed that people who occasionally smoke or those who have consistently consumed less than one cigarette a day are still at a higher risk of dying earlier than non-smokers.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that low-intensity smoking over the lifetime could lead significantly higher risk of all-cause mortality, including deaths from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
"Together, these findings indicate that smoking even a small number of cigarettes per day has substantial negative health effects," said Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics and lead author of the study, in a report from CBS News. "The results of this study support health warnings that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke,"
For the study, the researchers analyzed the data of 290 215 older adults included in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study cohort. The participants were about 59 to 82 years old. The researchers asked the each participant to report their smoking habits during nine different periods across their lifetime. These include from the period before they reached their 15th birthday up to the time they reached 70.
The researchers observed that people who smoke an average of less than one cigarette per day throughout their life was 64 percent to die earlier compared to non-smokers. On the other hand, those who smoke about one to ten cigarettes per day was 87 percent more likely to experience earlier death.
Looking at the risk of dying from lung cancer, the researchers noticed that people smoking less than one cigarette per day were nine times more likely to die from lung cancer, while those who smoke between one and 10 cigarettes per day has 12 times higher risk of dying from lung cancer, when compared to non-smokers.
Due to the possibility of misreporting in the part of the participants, the researchers noted that the study lack concrete data to compare the effects of smoking every day, every few weeks or weekly. However, the researchers claim that their results is enough to show that smoking is dangerous for the health, even at minimum levels.