Are you someone who smokes only a few cigarettes a day or just smokes occasionally? Perhaps you or your friends might see yourselves as 'social smokers'. Alternatively, some people say they go on a 'binge' every now and then, meaning they might not smoke much during weekdays, but then smoke heavily on the weekends.
The health implications of irregular smoking
While research to date on irregular patterns of smoking is limited, we do know:
- Smoking just one to four cigarettes a day still almost triples your risk of dying from heart disease or lung cancer. Non-daily or social smokers are also more stressed than non-smokers.
- Non-daily or social smokers experience more frequent coughs and shortness of breath.
- 'Smoking' but not inhaling the tobacco smoke still significantly increases the risk of dying of a heart attack.
- Some smokers who try to maintain low levels of smoking or social smoking are still regular smokers.
If you or a friend enjoys social smoking, low-level smoking or binge smoking, it's worth making sure you are aware of the real risks involved with this pattern of smoking. It's also useful to challenge the idea that, 'Just a few won't harm you' or 'I'm not addicted'.
Smoking every now and then or just a few each day still carries significant health risks and it's worth the effort to become completely smoke free.