With work parties as well as both friends and families looking to arrange much-needed catch ups, the Christmas period that’s now upon us sees so many people heading out on the town. If you’re one of those going out, do you ever think about having a cigarette while you’re socialising even if you don’t usually smoke?
Stop smoking chewing gum manufacturer Nicotinell has taken the opportunity to advise people on why they should avoid social smoking, both during the festive period and at any other time of the year…
Understanding The Types Of Smoker
These are the three main groups of people who smoke that you’ll likely come across…
- The Binge Smoker — this is someone who will smoke a lot but only at certain times of the week, such as throughout the weekend.
- The Low-level Smoker — this is someone who will either smoke a small number of cigarettes on a daily basis, or choose to only smoke occasionally.
- The Social Smoker — this is someone who will likely smoke only when in social settings, such as at a pub or when hanging out with friends.
Why Smoking Socially Is Risky
Low-level and occasional smokers both need to take note that there is no safe level when it comes to smoking. What’s more, the health dangers are apparent whether someone has one cigarette occasionally, or once an hour on average.
iCanQuit, an online resource that has been set up by the Cancer Institute NSW, has stressed this point after analysing the health effects caused from smoking irregularly. 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.
Links between social smokers and risks to health were also suggested from the results of a nationally representative study that involved more than 39,000 individuals and was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
According to the study, 17 per cent of respondents classed themselves as current smokers and more than ten per cent believed themselves to be social smokers. Regardless of the type of smoker though, around 75 per cent of the current and social smokers were found to have had high blood pressure and an estimated 54 per cent had high cholesterol. This is after the research team had adjusted for differences in factors which included demographics and obesity.
Kate Gawlik was the lead author of the study. An assistant professor of clinical nursing at The Ohio State University, she 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”.
“Not smoking at all is the best way to go. Even smoking in a social situation is detrimental to your cardiovascular health,” Ms Gawlik added.
When it comes to the gender split, iCanQuit reports that males who were regarded as occasional smokers were 60 per cent more likely to die at an earlier age than males who didn’t smoke at all. Meanwhile, females who were low-level smokers were found to typically lose between four and six years of their lives than non-smoking females.
As a result, iCanQuit underlined: “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.”