Only one cigarette a day dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and stroke
(Naturalhealth365) Nowadays, public awareness of the devastating effects of smoking is widespread, with most people knowing that cigarettes can cause cancer, heart disease and strokes. In fact, seventy percent of the 46 million Americans who smoke say they want to quit – and 1.3 million of them succeed every year. (yet, in reality, most people never hear how dangerous this habit can be – even in small amounts)
Cigarettes continue to kill close to 450,000 people a year. But, what’s happening with all of those ‘extremely light smokers,’ those who indulge in amounts as low as a single cigarette a day? A new British study yields results so stunning that even the researchers were surprised – and the new research exposes the lie surrounding the “safety” of extremely light smoking.
Heart disease WARNING: Low cigarette consumption is linked to high health risks
According to a brand-new review of 141 studies conducted by researchers at University College of London and published in the British Medical Journal, smoking one cigarette a day – rather than being a relatively benign practice – is linked to a major risk of heart problems.
Researchers found that smoking one daily cigarette was associated with at least a 48 percent increased risk of coronary heart disease in men – and at least a 57 percent increase in women.
In addition, a single cigarette raised the risk of stroke by an average of 30 percent for both men and women.
To conduct the review, the team analyzed the risk of smoking one, five or 20 cigarettes a day. And they found that smoking one cigarette carried a disproportionately large risk.
For example, half the risk associated with smoking a pack of 20 cigarettes came from a single cigarette – for men. (In women, a single cigarette accounted for about a third of the risk associated with one pack.)
While one cigarette raised risk of heart disease by 48 percent, smoking five cigarettes a day raised the risk an average of 58 percent.
Smoking a pack a day – 20 cigarettes – doubled the risk of heart disease, when compared to not smoking at all.
The myth surrounding ‘light smoking’ EXPOSED: “Cutting down” offers very little benefit
These results were not at all what the researchers had thought they would find.
They had expected that one cigarette a day – a twentieth of a pack – would raise heart disease risk by a corresponding 5 percent. Although this held true for the risk of lung cancer – in which heavy smokers experienced a much higher incidence – it was not true for the risk of heart disease and stroke; this skyrocketed even with a small daily number of cigarette smoked.
The team reported that many people incorrectly assume light smoking to be relatively safe, with only 35 percent of light smokers considering their habit to be associated with “a lot of harm.”
The review also revealed very little benefit to smoking less – or “cutting down” – and little benefit to switching to light or low-tar cigarettes.
In reality, only 7.2 percent of heavy smoker succeeded in reducing their consumption by 50 percent or more – and they didn’t reduce their risk of coronary heart disease, compared with those who continued to smoke heavily. (The team pointed out that they did, however, reduce their risk of lung cancer).
On the other hand, quitting smoking entirely cut risk of heart disease by 54 percent.
So, the takeaway is clear, when it comes to cardiovascular disease: no “safe level” of smoking exists.
Little-known truth revealed: Smoking depletes much-needed vitamin C
Research has shown that smokers have lower levels of vitamin C. And, the more cigarettes smoked, the lower the levels – an unfortunate (life-threatening) consequence, given that smokers require more vitamin C than non-smokers.
Vitamin C, an important antioxidant, also reactivates other antioxidants (such as vitamin E) and enhances iron absorption. It is also involved in several enzyme systems for the synthesis of collagen, the healing of wounds and the conversion of nutrients. In addition, it is needed for immune system function.
Vitamin C deficiencies have been linked with pneumonia, as well as with increased severity of infectious diseases. Interestingly, researchers say that smoking also seems to decrease the preference for eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables – causing smokers to avoid the very foods that could provide this indispensable nutrient.
The Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board recommends that smokers take an extra 35 mg of vitamin C a day, over the 75 mg advised for women and the 90 mg advised for men. (Most natural health experts feel that this dosage is far too low, and call for amounts many times higher).
Can you actually ‘kick the habit’ of smoking with vitamin C?
According to natural health expert Andrew Saul, PhD, vitamin C can reduce cigarette cravings, and even be helpful in quitting.
Saul, the author of “Doctor Yourself,” advocates spraying vitamin C into the back of the mouth and throat each time you experience an urge to smoke. By simply mixing ascorbic acid powder with some water and using a plastic sprayer obtainable at any dollar store, you can utilize this natural non-smoking strategy.
Due to the high acidity of ascorbic acid, Saul recommends rinsing your mouth with water afterwards. (If you don’t have a sprayer handy, Saul says you can even gargle with the mixture. Or, utilize chewable vitamin C tablets).
Proponents of this method say that the vitamin C helps to control hunger and food cravings, and helps to avoid the weight gain that can accompany quitting. If you are highly sensitive to acidity, you can opt for buffered vitamin C powder or calcium ascorbate.
Bottom line: the new review spells out, in no uncertain terms, the life-threatening risks of smoking the most popular brands of tobacco – in any amount. When it comes to cigarettes and heart disease, having “just one” really is “one too many.”
Sources for this article include:
Cancer & Heart Disease
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