health risks of smoking

Health Risks of Smoking Start with Just a Few Puffs

Study that links smoking and disease finds that a single cigarette boosts heart disease risks.

By Emily Main


Health Risks of Smoking Start with Just a Few Puffs

Putting out that one cigarette will do more for your heart health than you realize.

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The down economy has led to the first increase in smoking rates in 10 years. And if you're part of that trend, the health risks of smoking could be killing your heart, even if you smoke only a cigarette or two a day. A study published in the medical journal Circulation has found that the most substantial increases in risk of death from heart problems occur with the first few puffs you take. Which makes quitting smoking entirely the surest way to protect yourself.

THE DETAILS: Researchers collected data on smoking and disease from a study conducted by the American Cancer Society in 1982. They pulled information on smoking history, alcohol use, age, weight, sex, marital status, and other demographics from surveys completed by adults over 30 who lived in a household with someone over the age of 45. That information was compared with death records to see who had died from ischemic heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cardiopulmonary disease.

For more information about smoking, and how to quit, see:

How Whiskers and a Cold Nose Will Help You Quit Smoking
To Quit Smoking and Lose Weight, Look in the Mirror
Thirdhand Smoke: A Hidden Hazard for Kids and Babies
Smoke-Lead Combo Raises ADHD Risk
Save Your Brain: Avoid These 4 Bad Habits
Recession Raises Smoking Rates; Women’s Lungs at Extra Risk

Their study found that people who saw the greatest increase in their risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases were those who were exposed to the least amount of smoke. For instance, a person smoking less than three cigarettes per day would see a 64 percent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, compared to nonsmokers. But if that person jumped to smoking between 13 and 17 cigarettes per day, his risk would increase only another 3 percent, to 67 percent. Also surprising was the health risks to people exposed to secondhand smoke. Adults who smoke less than three cigarettes per day are exposed to 18 milligrams of dangerous particulate matter every day, while secondhand smokers are exposed to a minute fraction of that amount, 0.44 milligrams. Yet, even that tiny amount led to a 31 percent increase in the risk of death from cardiopulmonary disease, compared to people not exposed to cigarette smoke.

Published on: September 8, 2009
Updated on: June 10, 2010

More from our Authors

Look 10 Years Younger – No Dieting No Sweating No Kidding! Try it FREE for 21 Days!

I think that it would be

I think that it would be really interesting to create such discussion with other this website visitors. Anyway thanks a lot one more time for the great and informative publication.

Prevention is better

Prevention is better than cure. The best way to quit smoking is to not start at all in the first place.

second hand smoke

The data on second hand smoke is as unreliable as the junk science the tobacco industry used to publish. It's sponsored by people who don't want to pay for the (sad but true) effects of smoking and the best weapon they have is scaring the bejesus out of non smokers with the "SECOND HAND SMOKE GONNA KILL YOU" data touted in the junk science spouted out in this article. People as strident as this crowd got something to hide and that''s probably bad science and fuzzy math.

Smoking/Second-hand smoke

You forgot to mention the FACT that a heavy smoker is less susceptible because his/her lungs are covered in tar/nicotine and that retards the absorption of harmful particulates. Healthy none-smoker lungs absorb harmful particulates quickly that is attributed to second-hand smoke.


Download a FREE chapter from The Exercise Cure and learn how to get your daily dose of the world's most effective preventive medicine. Click here for your FREE copy!

Free Newsletter
Sign up for the FREE daily newsletter and get useful tips to keep yourself, your family, and the planet healthy and thriving.

  The Daily Fix
Authoritative reporting on the latest developments in health, food, and the environment

  Maria's Farm Country Kitchen Newsletter
Get cooking tips, learn about healthy living and even raising chickens—Maria does it all!

Your Privacy Policy