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Smoking and Tobacco

Effect to your health, of smoking ~5 a month

11/13/2006

Question:

APART from the obvious risk of addiction and potential to increase the amount you smoke, how harmful is this?

I am asking as I am concerned about my girlfriend (age 28), who smokes maybe once or twice a month at 2-3 cigs a time, because she claims to enjoy it. Obviously I would be very concerned if she smoked 2-3 cigs every other day (which she used to from age 18-26), but cut down to this level several months ago). She argues that only smoking once a month (and about 4-5 over a couple of days), isn`t enough to justify me worrying or giving her a hard time about their health. Afterall, she says, until she has a reason to quit for good (i.e. a baby) it is her body.

I was wondering if I should be unduly worried?

Thanks

 

Answer:

There is a clear causal relationship between the number of cigarettes smoked (amount of tobacco consumed) to adverse health effects; the greater the number/amount, the greater the risk.

There are some tools to evaluate someone's addiction level: we utilize the Fagerstrom Test For Nicotine Dependence (FTND). Some people are not even aware of how much they are actually smoking; and keeping a log of how much tobacco is used can be very helpful.

If someone truly only smokes occasionally, they are probably not addicted. However, there is no safe amount of tobacco (or alcohol) advised during pregnancy; and women are advised to quit before trying to become pregnant.

Some good websites to refer to are:

**Boston University School of Public Health & Legacy: American Legacy Foundation

www.quitnet.org

March of Dimes: The PREGNANCY

& NEWBORN HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER

www.marchofdimes.com

1-888-MODIMES (1-888-663-4637)

For more information:

Go to the Smoking and Tobacco health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Kathy Vesha, RN, BSN, MA
Formerly:
Kick It!
The James
The Ohio State University