No Smoking Is Safe
Here’s the stark bottom line: Smoking a few cigarettes daily does about the same damage to your lungs as smoking more than a pack a day. That conclusion came from a study that examined the smoking habits of more than 25,000 Americans who provided information on how much they smoked, their health and lifestyle. They also underwent tests to see how well their lungs were functioning. The participants were then tracked for up to 20 years. The bad news for the smokers (including those who quit): no matter how much – or little – they smoked, “the difference in loss of lung function between someone who smokes five cigarettes a day versus two packs a day is relatively small,” said study leader Elizabeth Oelsner, M.D. of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. The study found that lung function in light smokers declines at a rate “much closer” to that seen in heavy smokers than that observed in non-smokers. It also suggested that light smokers may have a greater risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than previously realized since most earlier studies looked only at heavy smokers.
Elizabeth Oelsner et al “Lung function decline in former smokers and low-intensity current smokers: a secondary data analysis of the NHLBI Pooled Cohorts study,” The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, October 9, 2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(19)30276-0
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Your Weight & Cancer Risk
- Smartphone Use & Posture
- Recipe: Antioxidant Berry-Walnut Muffins with Sea Buckthorn Juice Glaze
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