Social smoking may sound like something that exists on paper alone and that in reality you either are a smoker or you are not, without any middle ground. The fact is that the ‘social smoker’ really is an entity of its own. But, the question is, is social smoking as injurious to health as chain smoking is? The straightforward and simple answer to this would be, yes it is slightly better but it can still take a toll on the heart, lung and general health.
While it has been recorded that the efforts of public health campaigns in America have not been in vain and there has been a decline in adult smokers from 42% in 1965 to 21% today, the situation is still eerie. This is so because with the decline in chain smokers, came an upsurge of social smokers, those who claim they only smoke occasionally and when asked whether they classify themselves as smokers, their answers are a blatant ‘No’.
Today, the expert belief that intermittent smoking or light smoking was only the bridge used by smokers to quitting is being highly challenged, as the recent statistics on smokers showcase almost one-fourth of the entire smoking population to comprise of light smokers or those practicing social smoking. This is primarily because those who use social smoking as an intermediate period between chain smoking and quitting, never get off the path of social smoking and end up continuing it indefinitely.
Health Consequences of Social Smoking
If you are social smoking and your reasons for justifying the act happen to fall naturally to you just because you smoke a couple of times a week, the implications to your health still need to be considered. Social smoking can raise consequences such as increase in risk of lung cancer, heart diseases, cataract and a number of other conditions. A compilation of research by the Centre of Tobacco Control and Research and Education conducted by Dr. Rebecca Schane and her colleagues based on about 4 dozen reports on social smoking, along with the data published in ‘The Health Consequences of Smoking’, has accumulated the following facts on social smoking:
Social smoking can lead to;
- A weakened aorta
- Increased blood pressure and the emergence of clogged arteries being the cause of heart diseases
- Respiratory tract infections
- A slower recovery process from conditions such as physical injuries and health issues
- Premature death resulting from cardiovascular diseases
- Diminishing general health
- Lung, stomach, pancreatic and esophageal cancer
The study concluded that the risk for slow recovery from conditions such as a torn cartilage increased by 50%, while that of lung cancer in women increased by an astonishing 500%. Other implications on health of social smoking or light smoking include strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, breast cancer and peripheral artery disease.
Quitting is the Answer
Social smoking by no means is any better than chain smoking. This can be verified by the fact that smoking 3 cigarettes a day can increase the risks of heart diseases by the same amount smoking a pack of cigarettes can. The only answer to mitigating the ill effects of smoking is to quit smoking altogether. One a day or one box a day both have their health implications. For starters, nicotine replacements like nicotine patches and nicotine gum can be used to avoid the frustration related with withdrawal symptoms of quitting, but ultimately, the solution to the problem lies solely in quitting.