There are two kinds of people: the ones who decide to quit smoking instantly, and the others who prefer to do it progressively. Some from the second group tend to extend too much this quitting-period and keep smoking at least one cigarette per day. However, as this study published Wednesday suggested, just a single cigarette represents high chances to develop heart disease. According to the UK scientists, the risk is up to 50 percent compared to non-smokers.
Some people believe that cutting down their cigarette consumption could help them a lot. However, according to the paper published in the medical journal BMJ, this conclusion is false. Decreasing the number of smoked cigarettes to one per day might not be as dangerous as up to two cigarettes. However, it is still hazardous.
In the study, people who smoked just a single one showed more than 50 percent of chances to develop heart disease. Likewise, they showed more than 30 percent of chances to have a stroke compared to people who didn’t smoke at all.
The researchers claimed that it’s necessary to entirely quit smoking to be zero percent likely to develop any of these diseases.
Heart disease is still one of the leading reasons why smokers keep dying across the US and the UK – followed by cancer and lung diseases. Cardiovascular disease causes around 48 percent of smoking-related premature deaths.
“There seems to be a belief that cutting down a lot greatly reduces your chance of getting all smoking related disorders,” said Allan Hackshaw, co-author of the study at the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London. “Whilst that is true for cancer, it doesn’t seem to be true for heart disease or stroke.”
Although the number of people who smoke in the UK has creased compared to decades ago, this one is still very high. Previous studies have found that smokers tend to blow one to five cigarettes per day, as the researchers said.
Quitting instead of cutting down
The researchers analyzed a total of 141 studies performed between 1946 and 2015 involving several million people in total. They suggested there could be seven strokes or heart attacks in a group of 100 adults who were around 50 years old. However, if these people suddenly decided to decrease the smoked cigarettes to one, that number of strokes would also drop to three – and not zero.
Among men, the experts said that those who smoked one cigar a day were 48 percent more likely to develop coronary disease, and 25 percent to have a stroke.
The risks among women, on the other hand, were even higher. The experts claimed that female smokers showed 57 percent more likely to develop heart disease, and 31 percent to have heart attacks.
The researchers said that this study is critical because it demonstrates that people who want to be completely healthy won’t achieve it by decreasing the cigarettes they smoke. The only option they have left is to quit entirely.
Prof Hackshaw said that, among a “few countries,” it’s turned common for heavy smokers to cut down – “thinking that’s perfectly fine” – despite the fact that this belief could lead them to “cancer.” Then, he advised people to stop smoking “completely.”
The also deputy director commented that he wanted to initiate this research due to the number of his friends he saw were not stopping their smoking habits, but reducing them.
Paul Aveyard, professor of behavioral medicine at the University of Oxford, dubbed this study as “well conducted.” Then, he added that it confirmed what epidemiologists had already thought: that light smoking led to “substantial risk for heart disease and stroke.”
However, he also said that reducing the number of cigarettes could slightly help smokers.
“Those who try to cut down with the aid of nicotine, whether from nicotine replacement treatment or an e-cigarette, are more likely to stop eventually and thus really reduce their risks from smoking,” told Prof. Aveyard to the BBC.
A ‘serious damage’
Just like him, other experts concluded that the only way to be entirely healthy is to quit smoking.
Martin Dockrell, tobacco lead at Public Health England, said that this study adds to the “growing body of evidence” which suggests that reducing the number of smoked cigarettes to just one cigarette a day still “leaves a substantial risk of heart attack and stroke.” Then, he continued saying that the “best and safest” way is to “quit completely for good.”
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH, said that what makes people addicted to cigarettes and doesn’t allow them to quit is the “nicotine.” However, the “tar” is what does the “serious damage.”
Likewise, she said that vaping is “much less harmful,” but only if people “quit smoking altogether.”
Simon Clark, director of the smokers’ group Forest, claimed that making people stop cutting down smoking could be “counter-productive.”
Source: The BMJ