marlboro smoking lady

Quit Smoking or Halving Daily Cigarettes?

Published on May 30th, 2008 12:05

Antismoking researchers showed that if the smoker reduces the number of cigarettes smoked every day in the belief that it will stave off an early death, makes no difference.

Scientists said that people could give up smoking only if they quit but not only reduce the number of cigarettes.

Heavy smokers who have reduced their number of daily cigarettes still experience significantly greater exposure to toxins per cigarette than light smokers, according to a new study by antismoking researchers.

Scientists compared a group of more than 51,000 men and women participating into smoking reduction with a group of light smokers, all of whom were aged between 20 and 34.

Participants were classified as never smokers, ex smokers or quitters (those who gave up between the first and second check), moderate smokers (1 to 14 cigarettes daily), reducers (more than 15 cigarettes a day, cut by more than half at the second check), and heavy smokers (more than 15 cigarettes a day).

Results indicated that among men, deaths from lung cancer and cancers associated with smoking were not significantly lower in those who had cut back compared with heavy smokers. But this was not true of women who cut back, where the reverse was true.

And men who cut back only had slightly lower death rates from all causes combined than the heavy smokers during the first 15 years.

And there were no significant differences in death rates from specific causes, including early death from cardiovascular disease, among women who cut back their daily consumption, compared with those who continued to smoke heavily.

Women who cut back actually had higher death rates from all causes combined than heavy smokers.

In addition, researchers observed that the more that heavy smokers reduced their smoking, the more likely they were to increase their exposure to toxicants per cigarette presumably because they took more frequent puffs or inhaled deeper or longer on each cigarette, a process referred to as "compensatory smoking."

As a result, smokers who decreased their smoking to as little as one to three cigarettes per day experienced a four- to eight-fold increased exposure to toxins per cigarette as compared with light smokers.

The best way to lower the risk for premature death is to stop smoking altogether.