New study: Smoking even one cigarette per day increases risks of stroke, heart disease
A new study indicates that people who smoke even a single cigarette per day are 30% more likely to have a stroke and 50% more likely to develop heart disease compared to never smokers. Led by Professor Allan Hackshaw of the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London, the findings seem to suggest that simply cutting back on cigarette intake is not enough. Smokers need to quit permanently if they want to achieve maximum health benefits.
The vaping community is somewhat divided on the issue of dual use. Some believe that any reduction in cigarette intake is a good thing while others are more aggressive in their stance. According to the Hackshaw research, both sides may be right to some degree.
The Hackshaw study focuses specifically on the associated health risks of smoking in relationship to heart disease and strokes. It does not involve the perceived carcinogenic values of smoking a single cigarette per day, although numerous previous reports suggest that vaping is only about one percent as carcinogenic compared to combustible tobacco. The Hackshaw study entitled Low cigarette consumption and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: meta-analysis of 141 cohort studies in 55 study reports was recently published on the BMJ website just last week.
According to the published findings, smoking just one cigarette per day does indeed decrease the associated health risks of heart disease by about half, compared to a pack-a-day smoker. But the remaining health risks are still quite substantial.
Overview of the Hackshaw study
The researchers began by reviewing the results of some 141 previous studies before estimating the associated health risks of smoking one, five, and twenty cigarettes per day. Besides daily cigarette intake, the scientists also categorized their findings according to gender. Below is a short list of key findings.
- Men who smoke one cigarette per day will still experience about 46 percent of the health risks of heart disease compared to a pack-a-day smoker. For woman, the percentage drops to only 31 percent.
- Health risks associated with stroke only decline by about 59 percent in men. For women, the number falls to about 66 percent comparatively.
- For both men and women, smoking just one cigarette per day increases the chances of heart disease by over 50 percent compared to a never smoker. That number increases exponentially depending on the daily cigarette intake of the smoker.
The study also makes clear that cardiovascular disease rather than cancer is the leading contributor factor to smoking related deaths. And according to a recent health survey performed in the UK, about 25 percent of smokers claim that they are trying to cut back on smoking without having any real intention of totally quitting. The Hackshaw study suggests that smokers may need to take a more aggressive approach.
But there is good news, too. According to Prof. Hachshaw, the increased health risks that come from smoking even a single cigarette per day will be almost entirely eradicated after a few years of remaining smokefree.
“As we have found that a large proportion of the cardiovascular risk caused by smoking comes from just one cigarette per day, we hope that our findings could be used to strengthen public health campaigns and provide increased incentive for people to stop smoking. Smokers could make use of various smoking cessation aids, with positive support from friends and their family doctor. The great news is that much of the risk of heart disease and stroke goes away only a few years after stopping,”
As far back as 2014, Dr. Konstantinos E Farsalinos of the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Kallithéa, Greece (and a pro-vaping advocate) published the results of a vaping study which seem to support the newly published Hackshaw research. The Farsalinos study claims that vaping as no adverse effects on myocardial heart functions whiles smoking even a single cigarette has immediate adverse effects.