One cigarette a day 'can increase cardiovascular risk'

Phillip Cunningham
January 27, 2018

Smoking just one cigarette a day is all it takes to increase your risk of serious heart problems, a study suggests.

A new study has revealed that smokers need to cut out completely, rather than just cut down, in order to see tangible health benefits - with those who smoke a single cigarette a day still 50 percent more likely to contract cardiovascular diseases and 30 percent more likely to suffer a stroke.

Experts say there is no safe level of smoking kick the habit completely instead of cutting down.

The researchers acknowledge their findings may come as a surprise to people who expected to discover that smoking one instead of 20 cigarettes a day has about one twentieth of the risk.

"What this tells us is that people who smoke shouldn't just cut down - they should aim to stop smoking altogether", said lead author Professor Allan Hackshaw, from Cancer Research UK and UCL Cancer Trials Centre, University College London.

They acknowledged some study limitations, but said their paper is the first to combine results across many studies covering both coronary heart disease and stroke.

The researchers found that in men who smoke one cigarette a day, their risk of developing heart disease is still 46 percent of that of a heavy smoker. Creators tout them as approaches to enable smokers to reduce and bring down their wellbeing risks. Essentially, if smoking 20 confers a 127 percent increased likelihood of heart disease, what percentage of that risk are you maintaining by only having one?


Although light smoking can negatively affect your health, cutting down is still helpful.

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However, he also said it would be wrong to conclude that there is no point in cutting down.

That's why people should be wary of simply reducing their cigarette intake or switching to "safer" alternatives like e-cigarettes in the hopes of avoiding a heart attack or stroke, University of Ottawa professor Kenneth Johnson wrote for the British Medical Journal. "I think a lot of people who work in the tobacco and the health industry right now forget how hard it is to quit", Hackshaw said.

"There has been a big change from people smoking cigarettes 20 to 25 smokes daily to simply cigarette smoking a few cigarettes per day with the premise that's good enough to allow these".

But when adult smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, "they offer an opportunity to reduce smoking-related illness", says Eaton.

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