Doctors are studying the effects of reduced cigarette consumption
If smokers want to significantly reduce their risk of developing heart disease or stroke, they have to stop smoking altogether, instead of just reducing smoking. Even if people smoke just one cigarette a day, this increases the risk of the complaints mentioned.
In their investigation, scientists from the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London found that smoking just one cigarette a day increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The experts published the results of their study in the English language journal "BMJ".
Researchers analyze the data from 141 studies for their investigation
Many people try to reduce smoking to protect themselves from unwanted diseases. Apparently, just smoking fewer cigarettes is not enough to avoid heart disease and strokes. The only way to protect yourself seems to be to stop smoking altogether. This was the finding of the doctors when they analyzed the data from a total of 141 cohort studies in the course of their research work.
What is the leading cause of premature death from smoking?
Many people think that cancer causes most premature death in smokers. However, this assumption is wrong. In reality, it is cardiovascular diseases and not cancer, the experts explain.
Smoking just a few cigarettes a day has a major health impact
The proportion of adults who smoke has decreased, but the proportion of people who smoke one to five cigarettes a day is rising steadily in the UK, the researchers explain. The risk of smoking just a few cigarettes a day is considerably greater than previously thought. Even if they smoke just a single cigarette a day, they have a massively increased risk of developing a heart disease or stroke. This shows that to reduce the risk, smokers have to stop smoking altogether, instead of just reducing their cigarette consumption, the doctors explain.
How does smoking a cigarette affect heart disease every day?
In their study, the scientists found that if men smoke one cigarette a day, the risk of heart disease was 46 percent of the risk that 20 people smoke every day. In women, the risk of heart disease from smoking one cigarette a day was 31 percent of the risk women had when taking 20 cigarettes a day. When the relative risk was calculated after adjustment to various factors, it was 53 percent for men and 38 percent for women.
How does a cigarette affect the risk of stroke every day?
Strokes were similarly dramatic. If men smoke only one cigarette a day, the risk of having a stroke is 41 percent of the risk that 20 men a day smoke. Women who smoke a cigarette a day have a risk equivalent to 34 percent of the risk that women with 20 cigarettes a day have. When using relative risks, the values were as high as 64 percent for men and 36 percent for women when the risk was adjusted to various factors, the authors of the study write.
Researchers had expected a clearer reduction in risk
Many smokers want to quit smoking or at least reduce it because they are afraid of cancer. However, smoking is much more likely to cause heart disease or stroke. In fact, the researchers would have expected that smoking fewer cigarettes would reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease in a proportionate manner, as has been found in some lung cancer studies. A reduction in the amount of cigarettes smoked a day does not protect against heart disease and strokes, you have to stop smoking altogether, the scientists explain.
How does risk affect if people stop smoking altogether?
Just a few years in the life in which people smoke can lead to serious damage and cause cardiovascular disease. But there is also good news for smokers: if you stop smoking altogether, your risk of cardiovascular diseases will quickly decrease. It is also wrong to assume that reducing the amount of cigarettes smoked every day is useless. Smoking fewer cigarettes a day does not reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke very much. (as)