Think that smoking less is doing you a lot of good? Think again. A new study shows that smoking less cigarettes does not lessen the risk of premature death caused by smoking.
The 40-year study conducted by Glasgow and Stirling Universities observed about 5200 smokers in Scotland who were recruited for smoking studies in the early 1970s. The observation period ended in 2010. The smokers were observed and later questioned as to whether they quit, reduced, maintained, or increased their smoking. The researchers studied the participants’ mortality rates over the course of the study period.
While the data proved that those who quit smoking altogether had significantly lower death rates than those who continued smoking, there was no considerable difference in the death toll of those who merely lessened their smoking intake and those who did not.
“Our results support the view that reducing the number of cigarettes you smoke is not a reliable way of improving your health in the long term,” said Professor Linda Bauld of Stirling University, one of the authors of the study. “However, what we do now know is that it may have a valuable role as a step toward giving up altogether, through cutting down to quit, an approach that has been recommended in recent guidance in the UK,”she added.
These new findings prompted health advocates to renew the call for better tobacco regulation policies, such as enforcing 100% smoke-free environments, mandating graphic health warnings on cigarette packs, and banning all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. This is in light of recent data showing that while sin taxes have been increasing revenue, they have yet to lessen smoking incidence in the country.
“The Philippines has now become the top tobacco-consuming country in Southeast Asia. We are among the top 20 smoking nations around the world,” said Atty. Diana Trivino, Project Manager of public health NGO HealthJustice. “240 Filipinos die every day because of this addiction to tobacco products. To effectively combat the toll of tobacco, we must implement graphic health warnings on packs, mandate 100% smoke-free environments, and impose a complete ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. These are necessary complements to the sin tax law.”
“This is a call to those who think that smoking less is enough to save them. Quitting smoking is the only proven way to avoid the deadly risks of smoking altogether,” said Emer Rojas, President of the New Vois Association of the Philippines. Rojas is a laryngeal cancer survivor who attributes his illness to his former smoking addiction. “Quit smoking before your body quits you.” (HealthJustice Media)