You’ve probably heard someone say “I’m cutting down on ciggies because smoking less is healthier.” They’re likely referring to ‘light’ smoking, or cutting down the number of cigarettes they consume each day.
In recent years, many smokers have believed ‘smoking lightly’ (or ‘cutting down’) to be a healthier alternative.
But, the painful truth? It isn’t any healthier than smoking a pack daily.
In today’s post, we debunk the notion of “light” smoking by exploring common ideas about it and its effect on your health.
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What is ‘Light’ Smoking?
This is often defined as consuming 5 or fewer cigarettes per day, representing a 75% reduction in the number of cigarettes you smoke (if you smoke a pack daily).
Unfortunately, the harmful effects of smoking are not solely determined by the number of sticks you consume, but rather by the presence of numerous toxic substances contained in cigarette smoke.
The truth about “light” smoking? Even one cigarette a day is enough to wreak havoc on your body.
All Smoking is Dangerous
It’s not the number of cigarettes consumed – all tobacco is dangerous to one’s health. A single cigarette every day exposes you to more than 7,000 harmful chemicals – 69 of them being carcinogenic.
While it’s good to recognise a peer’s effort trying to quit smoking by lessening what they consume every day, it’s better to just quit entirely.
Instead of lighting up a cigarette and inhaling smoke, you can use nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products, pharmacy-available nicotine vaping products (NVPs), and other tools designed for quitting.
The Dangers of ‘Light’ Smoking During Pregnancy
The biggest danger ‘light’ smoking presents to most people is perceiving it to be healthier in general, which seems logically sound until you look at the data around it. Unfortunately, even pregnant mothers believe ‘light’ smoking puts them and their baby at less risk.
Pregnancy is a critical time for both a mother and the unborn child, and exposing the developing fetus to cigarette smoke, even in reduced quantities, can have severe consequences.
The chemicals present in cigarette smoke will interfere with the normal growth of the baby and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Now, we know that mothers love their children, but smoking is a hard habit to kick out of your life, even if you’re already pregnant. Take a look at some of these tips designed to help pregnant mothers keep their children healthy and happy before and after they’re born.
‘Light’ Smoking After Having a Dental Surgery
Do you find your recent tooth extraction or surgery a bit achy and healing slowly? You can blame ‘light’ smoking for that.
When you smoke ‘lightly’, you may think your dental surgery has less exposure to the dangers of cigarette smoke. Again, while it seems to make sense, it doesn’t – any smoke exposure significantly slows down healing and weakens your immune system at the same time. Truth be told, many people who just had surgery and kept lighting a ciggie still experienced a painful and infected wound.
So, if you want the pain to stop and to heal your tooth extraction well, stop smoking, not even ‘lightly’.
Quitting Smoking: The Only Way to Get Healthy
The only way to quit smoking is not by counting the number of darts you light up daily but by dedicating yourself to the process. You can start by making up your mind and then calling a GP to aid you.
GPs are the guides on a mountain trail where it’s easy for anyone to get lost. With their help, many successful smokers have kicked the habit – and so will you. They can personalise your smoking cessation journey and assess your difficulties to make it easier for you and increase your chance to quit.
Make It Easier With Quitting Tools
A GP can also help you with the right tools. They know your withdrawals are hard to control, so they may prescribe NRT products and nicotine vaping products (NVPs) from pharmacies.
NRT products provide a small dose of nicotine to satisfy cravings and wean you off nicotine slowly without harming you with cigarette smoke.
The alternative, pharmacy-bought NVPs available through prescription, are the second means after NRT products do not seem to work on you. But don’t mistake these for illicit NVPs sold illegally in tobacconists and convenience stores.
NVP products sold in pharmacies are made under stringent pharmaceutical standards on the manufacturing process and ingredients, are toxicologically assessed for inhalation, are locally insured, and are specifically designed to help you stop smoking.
Prescription NVPs may be a second-line solution, but the latest Cochrane Review found high-certainty evidence that NVPs are more effective than NRT in helping people stop smoking.
It’s understandable to believe that ‘light’ smoking could be a healthier option. But that’s not true – just one cigarette every day will still introduce the same hazardous and carcinogenic chemicals into your body. The best way is to stop smoking for good to keep yourself healthy and live a long life.
You’re reading this because you want to finally kick out cigarettes from your life starting with smoking fewer cigarettes. We hope you found this informative and are ready to take the next steps.
Smokefree Clinic gives you access to many medically reviewed and trustworthy resources that can inform and aid you in your path to wellness, so have a look around!
If you’re ready to get started, Smokefree can connect you to bulk-billing Australian healthcare professionals who excel in helping patients quit smoking for good, including using responsible vaping products where appropriate.
Click here to book your bulk-billed telehealth consultation with an Australian healthcare professional and quit smoking today.