Even one cigarette a day greatly raises cardiovascular risk – Guardian & BMJ, Jan. 24, 2018

A Jan. 24, 2018 Guardian article is entitled: “Even one cigarette a day greatly raises cardiovascular risk, experts warn: Impact of one daily cigarette on risk of heart disease and stroke greater than previously thought.”

A Jan. 24, 2018 BMJ editorial is entitled: “Just one cigarette a day seriously elevates cardiovascular risk.”

Passive smoking

An excerpt from the editorial (I have omitted the footnote references) reads:

The high cardiovascular risk associated with very low cigarette use has major public health implications. Firstly, light smoking, occasional smoking, and smoking fewer cigarettes all carry substantial risk of cardiovascular disease. Only complete cessation is protective and should be emphasised by all prevention measures and policies.

Secondly, passive smoking is essentially another form of low dose smoking that carries a substantial cardiovascular risk. Comprehensive smoke-free laws in public places, now common in high resource countries, result in large drops in hospital admissions (about 15%) for cardiac, cerebrovascular, and lung disease, and it would be prudent for low resource countries to follow suit. Marijuana and sheesha (hookah) smoke are also of concern because incomplete combustion of organic substances produces many highly toxic chemicals, with similar serious adverse health consequences.

Thirdly, new tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn cigarettes, may carry substantial risk for heart disease and stroke. Although e-cigarettes deliver reduced levels of carcinogens, they still expose users to high levels of ultra fine particles and other toxins that may markedly increase cardiovascular risk. Somewhat lower emissions of many toxic substances from heat-not-burn cigarettes do not make these products safe. Regulatory approval of these products should be withheld. We cannot afford to wait several more decades to document the illness, disability, and deaths caused by new recreational tobacco and nicotine products.

Finally, e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products should not be promoted for “harm reduction” on the grounds that they lead people to smoke fewer cigarettes,because modest reductions in cigarette consumption are unlikely to have meaningful health benefits and dual use of cigarettes and e-cigarettes may expose smokers to increased total risks. Furthermore, e-cigarettes are reducing smoking cessation rates, and marketing of supposedly safer tobacco products seems to recruit and addict new generations of young smokers.

The take home message for smokers is that any exposure to cigarette smoke is too much. The message for regulators dealing with newly marketed “reduced risk” products is that any suggestion of seriously reduced CHD and stroke from using these products is premature.


One cigarette per year

Smoking is a cultural tradition that can readily cut short a person’s life.

I used to smoke one cigarette a year, after stopping a pack-a-day habit about 45-years ago. Each year, one cigarette. Finally, however, I said: “Enough.”

At some previous posts, I’ve spoken about the history of smoking:

1960s-era documentary films by the Maysles brothers and The Meaning of Human Existence (2014)

The Big Sleep (1946) demonstrates the effective application of screen direction, sound, lighting, and editing

Veronica Foster the Bren Gun Girl was a non-smoker, except on the occasion of a wartime NFB photo shoot

Women’s roles in Special Operations during the Second World War


A related topic concerns the role of sugar, a product that is very effectively marketed, in the destruction of health and well-being.

Click here for previous, evidence-based posts about sugar >


A Jan. 30, 2018 statnews.com article is entitled: “The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to fake news.”


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