The Ohio State University conducted a study that showed how people who smoke occasionally (also known as social smokers) are exposing their health to the same risks as people who smoke a pack of cigarettes each day. This is a very surprising, as ‘everything in moderation’ approach cannot be applied to social smoking.
The research with 40,000 participants lasted over four years. It was a part of Million Hearts program, and participants were divided into three groups: nonsmokers, smokers and occasional smokers. Occasional or social smokers were people who didn’t smoke every day, but were prone to smoking in specifying situations, mostly in bars, night clubs or when drinking alcohol.
According to the research, social smokers experienced the same risks as smokers, including high cholesterol levels and hypertension. The Ohio State University’s study didn’t measure cancer risks, but it is known for a long time that smoking can cause more than 30 types of cancer.
This study could change the way medical workers communicate with their patients. Social smokers are don’t consider themselves to be smokers which can cause serious issues in diagnosis and treatment. For this reason, many health issues can go undetected for a long time. So instead of asking patients do they smoke, medical workers should ask them how often they consummate tobacco and when was the last time they consummated tobacco.
Smoking causes high cholesterol levels that are connected to high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. The fact that the risks involved are the same for occasional and regular smokers will require more attention from medical workers and more detailed examination. Also, the study implies that reducing the number of cigarettes smoked won’t have desired effects as occasional smoking is equally bad for your health. Considering that one in 10 Americans is a social smoker while 17% of them smoke regularly, there is a whole group of smokers that has been neglected during medical examinations, and that live in denial about the risks they are exposed to. This study could make a great social impact. Public policies and campaigns against smoking could be taken to a whole new level thanks to this research.