Health

Social smoking as harmful as lighting up daily: US study

"Social smokers" who light up only on special occasions may have some of the same risks for heart disease as people with a daily cigarette habit, a US study suggests.

For the study, researchers examined data on smoking habits, cholesterol levels and blood pressure for a nationally representative sample of 39,555 adults. About 17 per cent were current smokers, and about 10 per cent were social smokers who did not have a daily habit but did regularly smoke in certain situations.

Compared with non-smokers, social smokers were more than twice as likely to have high blood pressure and 53 per cent more likely to have elevated cholesterol, the study found.

Social smokers had roughly the same odds of having these risk factors for heart disease as current smokers in the study."These results provide strong evidence that smoking, regardless of amount, is an even stronger indicator of cardiovascular risk than previously thought," said lead study author Kate Gawlik, from Ohio State University College of Nursing in Columbus. - REUTERS

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