Brittany Hambleton
Brittany Hambleton
February 5, 2024 ·  2 min read

There is no ‘safe’ level of smoking: Smoking just a few cigarettes a week can kill you!

If you’ve ever taken a survey that asks you whether or not you’re a smoker, there’s usually 3 options: Never Smoked, Smoke Regularly, and Occasional Smoker. Some people might feel pretty okay about checking that third option, but the research shows that smoking even just once in a while can be deadly. Here’s why:

New Study: Occasional Smoking Can Kill You

On December 5th, 2016, Maki Inoue-Choi and her team in the National Cancer Institute released a study of almost 300,000 people that revealed that those who smoke less than 1 cigarette a day on average have a 64% higher risk of early death than non-smokers. Let alone regular smokers whose risk of death is 87% higher than non-smokers (1).

The study also showed that when diagnosed with lung cancer, occasional smokers were 9 times as likely to die from the cancer than non-smokers were (regular smokers 12 times as likely).

Researchers noted that occasional smokers who quit earlier in life had slightly lessened risks of death. The later in life they quit, the higher the health risks became.

What Does Smoking Expose You To?

The following chemicals are known toxins (most of which are known carcinogens) found in cigarettes. According to the American Cancer Society, this is only a partial reflection of the full number of harmful toxins, depending on the type of cigarette.

  1. Nicotine (the addictive drug that produces the effect people are looking for and one of the harshest chemicals in tobacco smoke)
  2. Hydrogen cyanide
  3. Formaldehyde
  4. Lead
  5. Arsenic
  6. Ammonia
  7. Radioactive elements, such as uranium (see below)
  8. Benzene
  9. Carbon monoxide
  10. Nitrosamines
  11. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  12. Menthol (Now banned in Canada)
  13. Cadmium
  14. Aluminum
  15. Copper
  16. Lead
  17. Chromium
  18. Mercury

What If You’re An Occasional Smoker?

Some occasional smokers developed the habit as an attempt to eventually quit smoking altogether. Others start young and smoke in social settings, not realizing that there are still serious health repercussions. Others turn to the habit during stressful seasons of life, quit often, but return often as well.

Currently, cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in America, accounting for 1 in 5 deaths each year (2). Now we know that this number doesn’t only apply to regular smokers, but even for those who almost never smoke. The bottom line is this: There is no safe smoking habit. If you’re currently trapped in the habit of lighting up the occasional cigarette, the sooner you’re able to quit, the better.

We’d love to hear from you! If you used to smoke, tell us what helped you to quit. Your success story could help save someone’s life.