While the overall smoking rate is falling in the US, one group is bucking the trend – young women who opt for ‘very light smoking’, according to a HealthDay News story citing the results of a new study.
The study, published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, defined a very light habit as smoking five or fewer cigarettes a day.
A team led by Carole Holahan of the University of Texas looked at data from nearly 9,800 women aged between 18 and 25 who took part in a federal government survey during 2011.
Very light and intermittent smoking – using cigarettes on some days but not on others – was common among the women. Nearly 20 percent of all the women in the study, and about 60 percent of the current smokers, were described as very light smokers, and nearly half of the current smokers did not smoke every day.
Meanwhile, HealthDay quoted one expert as saying that young women should not fool themselves into thinking light smoking was harmless. “Even light smoking can triple the lifetime risk of heart disease,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
Another expert said that very light smokers might not think of themselves as smokers and might believe that they can quit easily. But very light and non-daily smokers often increased their smoking over time and became daily, heavier smokers, said Patricia Folan, who directs the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, New York.