Whether it be former smokers or people who never consider themselves to be a “smoker,” there seems to be a steady trend of people who engage in smoking occasionally – often in social settings such as when out on the weekends or while drinking. This pattern of smoking may have developed as a response to peer pressure, especially since smart decision making is usually compromised when alcohol is involved. However, some people become infrequent smokers because of a mistaken belief that as long as it’s not done regularly, smoking isn’t that dangerous.
What are the Risks?
Although occasional smoking is mistakenly seen as less harmful than regular smoking, it has been found to cause lung cancer in much the same way that regular smoking causes the disease. A recent study in the United States has found that occasional or infrequent smokers are 9 times more likely to develop lung cancer than people who’ve never smoked, while regular smokers are 12 times more likely to do the same.
How Much or How Often?
One important factor is that the number of cigarettes a person smokes each day is less important than the duration of smoking – meaning, the duration of your smoking years, whether it is “occasional” or regular. The risks to your lungs are heightened with each compounded year of smoking, regardless of the number of cigarettes smoked per smoking session. This factor is extremely important in the case of former regular smokers who may transition to occasional or social smoking rather than giving up altogether. To a former chain smoker, reducing the number of cigarettes to just a few per week may seem like great improvement, and to some extent this is true, but the health risks associated with smoking do not go away unless one quits smoking completely and permanently.
The bottom line is, smoking is a dangerous risk to your health, no matter how much or how often you smoke. So, if you think that the occasional cigarette when you’re out with friends is not a big deal, think again.
Ready to throw away the pack once and for all? Let our Smoking Cessation Clinic help you successfully kick the habit. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment , and let’s get you back on track to good health.