“I’m a social smoker - nothing to worry about, doc.” We as doctors get this response on occasion to our queries about smoking.
Just how bad is smoking socially - just occasionally, just a cigarette? New data from a recent study sheds light on the issue and the answer may surprise - and frighten some “social” smokers.
A new study reported that “smoking just one cigarette a day carries HALF the risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke as a pack-a-day habit.” Fully a half. One cigarette! Heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure - a risk of half for all of these from just one a day. No amount of smoking - not matter how small - is ok for your heart.
Our wish is for our patients (and everyone else!) to live long, healthy, happy lives. As diagnostic radiologists, we contribute what we can in terms of early detection and regular screenings. Remember if you are a smoker with a bigger habit (one pack a day for 30 years or the equivalent), we have a CT screening test which has been shown to save lives. For all tobacco users - whether heavy, light or “social” - the best answer of all is quitting for good. One of the best things we see is the proactive work of our friends, family and community members - people doing what they can to reduce risk through modifiable factors.
February is heart health month, and while the month is all too short and winding down, heart health is a year-round, lifelong sort of thing. And the healthiest thing for your heart and all your blood vessels is no tobacco at all.
As we come to the end of heart health awareness month, we hope you take this tidbit of knowledge from the study and, if needed, make another little adjustment in your life to make it a longer, healthier, happier one.