The days of smoke-filled pubs, clubs and offices may be long gone, but many those who have kicked their addiction still enjoy a cigarette during a night out or a break from work.
Social smoking is deemed by many to be a harmless pastime, a way of relaxing and de-stressing from a busy day.
Nicotinell — providers of expert advice on how to stop drinking and smoking — explains why it is best to steer away from social smoking.
Are you a low-level or occasional smoker?
- The binge smoker — someone who will smoke a lot but only at certain times of the week, such as the weekend.
- The low-level smoker — someone who will either smoke a small number of cigarettes on a daily basis, or choose to only smoke occasionally.
- The social smoker — someone who will likely smoke only when in social settings, such as at a pub or when hanging out with friends.
What are the risks of smoking socially?
There is no safe level of smoking and the health dangers are apparent whether someone has one cigarette occasionally, or once an hour.
This statement has been underlined by online resource iCanQuit, which has been developed by the Cancer Institute NSW, when looking into the health effects of irregular smoking.
According to the organisation, people who smoke between one and four cigarettes on a daily basis will almost triple their risk of dying from either heart disease or lung cancer. Both light and intermittent smokers were also found to be at nearly the same risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease as those who smoked every day.
A nationally representative study which was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion and involved over 39,000 people has also suggested links between social smokers and health risks.
The research found that over 10% of the group surveyed classed themselves as social smokers and another 17% said they were current smokers. Regardless of the type of smoker though, around 75% of the current and social smokers were found to have had high blood pressure and an estimated 54% had high cholesterol. This is after the research team had adjusted for differences in factors which included demographics and obesity.
Kate Gawlik, the assistant professor of clinical nursing at The Ohio State University and the study’s lead author, stressed that “doctors and nurses need to educate patients that social smoking is still a major health risk and is not a long-term healthy choice.”
She also advised: “Not smoking at all is the best way to go. Even smoking in a social situation is detrimental to your cardiovascular health.”
Splitting the effects into genders, iCanQuit has also reported that males who were occasional smokers were 60% more likely to die earlier than non-smoking males.
Meanwhile, females who were low-level smokers were found to typically lose between four and six years of their lives than non-smoking females.
iCanQuit therefore was keen to point out: “Even if you smoke occasionally or just on weekends, you are still a smoker – and the health dangers of low level smoking are serious and significant.”
This article is supplied under the terms of the DB Direct Service