Nav: Home

Long-term, low-intensity smoking associated with increased risks of death

December 05, 2016

Low-intensity smokers who puff on 10 or less cigarettes per day over their lifetime still have higher risks of death than individuals who never smoke, providing further evidence that there is no safe level of cigarette smoking, according to a study published online by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Tobacco smoking is a public health issue around the world, estimated to cause 5 million deaths annually. However, there are few data on the effects of long-term, low-intensity smoking and a perception among some people that such a level can be safe.

Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and coauthors examined associations between long-term smoking of fewer than one or 1 to 10 cigarettes per day with the risk of death among current and former smokers.

The study included 290,215 older adults (ranging in age from 59 to 82) who completed the 2004-2005 questionnaire in the National Institutes of Health - AARP Diet and Health Study. The questionnaire assessed lifetime smoking intensity during previous age periods from less than 15 years old to 70 or more. Among the group, there were 22,337 current smokers (7.7 percent), 156,405 former smokers (53.9 percent) and 111,473 never smokers (38.4 percent).

Compared with individuals who never smoked, consistently low-intensity smokers of 10 or less cigarettes per day had a higher risk of death from all causes and associations were seen across smoking-related causes of death, especially lung cancer, according to the results.

Former smokers who had been consistently low-intensity smokers had progressively lower risks of death the younger they were when they quit, the authors report.

Limitations of the study include its small numbers of low-intensity smokers. Participants also recalled their smoking intensity after the fact.

"These findings provide further evidence that there is no safe level of cigarette smoking. All smokers should be targeted for smoking cessation, regardless of how few cigarettes they smoke per day. Further studies are needed to examine the health risks of low-intensity cigarette smoking in combination with electronic nicotine delivery systems and other tobacco products," the study concludes.
(JAMA Intern Med. Published online December 5, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7511; available pre-embargo at the For The Media website.)

Editor's Note: The article contains conflict of interest and funding support disclosures. Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

The JAMA Network Journals

Related Lung Cancer Articles:

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.
Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.
Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.
Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.
Better equipped in the fight against lung cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in Germany and the disease affects both men and women.
More Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...