While the negative health effects of smoking have been well known for many years, many social smokers consider a few cigarettes a day not to be the biggest deal, and certainly not a real threat to their health.
French doctors, who conducted a recent study, have found that a third of smokers claimed up to 10 cigarettes a day was not associated with any risk of lung cancer.
On top of that worrying statistic, only half of full-time smokers considered themselves at higher risk of lung cancer than the general population.
The study, which was conducted on 1,600 people aged 40 to 75, found that there was indeed an increased risk of cancer for those who smoke tobacco.
Dr. Laurent Greillier from Hopital Nord in Marseille said about the study, “Nowadays everyone knows that smoking is a risk factor for developing several cancers, especially lung cancer. In this new survey we hypothesised that the perception of the risk of developing this disease could be influenced by personal smoking history.”
Nevertheless, Greillier said he was shocked that only half of the people studied thought there was such thing as a “safe cigarette.”
As he said to reporters, “This finding is particularly impressive and threatening, It shows that relatively low cigarette consumption is considered as ‘safe’ for a lot of people.”
Dr. Carolyn Dresler, from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, commented on the findings of the study saying, “People who smoke very much tend to underestimate their risks and it makes me think that ‘denial’ is still prevalent. As an oncologist and tobacco control advocate, it amazes me and strikes me as so unfortunate that such lack of knowledge is so prevalent. The risk for lung cancer is most dependent on duration of smoking, but of course the number per day matters also.”
To Dr. Dresler’s mind, the “Just one cigarette a day” philosophy is a dangerous one. As she said, “So, this survey demonstrates that much education is still required. It is very important to make sure that accurate information is disseminated about the actual risks of tobacco – particularly for those who continue to smoke.”
[Image credit: heartwiseministries.org]