A recent study reveals that light smoking is the newest trend among women and this might herald an entirely new approach in the campaigns against smoking.
The study looked at extensive data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health from 2011 that included almost 9,800 women aged 18 to 25 and found that the patterns adopted by smokers have changed significantly in the past few years, because there is a new kind of majority emerging. While it is more and more apparent that people who smoke a few packs a day are getting fewer and fewer, the majority seems to be comprised of light and very light smokers.
The findings of the survey analysis revealed that 20% of participants were actually light smokers. This means that their maximum daily consumption rate is of only 5 cigarettes. This abundance of light smokers could be attributed to the anti-smoking movement, which persuaded people to quit smoking, which they might have done for a while, after which they figured that a few cigarettes will not cause as much dangers as hard-core smoking.
Also, young women seem to have a tendency to keep their smoking rates down, precisely because consider this to be the loophole in the entire smoking scenario. Light smoking or even more so, very light smoking, which implies at least a cigarette in a month’s time, is perceived to enable people to smoke, but escape the consequences.
There is a particular aspect that is commonly associated with light smoking, that makes people feel like they are not even real actual smokers. Intermittent smoking, which the study defined as smoking on less than a daily basis, was found to be practices by half of the women who were identified as smokers. 60% of the survey participants were found to be smokers, regardless of their smoking patterns.
Social smoking is the most common type of intermittent light smoking. This is a pattern attributed to those people who do not smoke at all until they find themselves as part of a social event, when they will enjoy a few cigarettes in the company of their friends.
The most pressing issue is that all of these people believe that they are somehow excluded from the horrific consequences of smoking. Whenever they hear about lung cancer and other diseases associated to smoking, they breathe easily and look upon their hard core smoking acquaintances with pity, as they feel that they are not part of the risk group anymore since they smoke so little.
Unfortunately, doctors do not agree with this assumption and clearly point out that all smoking patterns, regardless of smoking rate bring about significant health consequences. If smoking two packs of cigarettes a day is clearly associated with cancer, at least from a psychological standpoint, then five cigarettes should amount to only a little bit of the cancer. Unfortunately, this still means cancer; there is no way around it.
And the main issue is that light and very light smokers do not acknowledge that they are smokers at all, and therefore never consider quitting, as in their opinion, they do not have a condition that they need to quit at all.
Dr. Carole Holahan of University of Texas at Austin, the leader of the study points out that there is great need for a change of approach in the anti-smoking movement, as it needs to focus on light smoking much more than it previously has. She explains that reminding light smokers that they actually are smokers is the baseline of reducing smoking rates and therefore this should be the aim of future awareness campaigns targeted a stopping smoking.
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