Newsflash: Low-intensity smoking can still cause long-term lung damage

Newsflash: Low-intensity smoking can still cause long-term lung damage

“Only smoking one or two cigs in a day isn’t too bad, right?” If you think that one or two sticks every now and then is fine health-wise (“Better than quitting cold turkey,” they say), you might want to rethink your game plan.

An October 2019 study by The Lancet reveals findings that all levels of smoking, whether you’re an occasional social smoker or one who finishes a pack a day, causes accelerated lung function decline versus someone who’s never smoked at all. For those who’ve smoked, it’s a one-way ticket to “lasting and progressive lung damage.” Yikes.

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The study was written by Columbia University’s Dr. Elizabeth Oelsner of the Division of General Medicine. It was conducted in the US with over 23,352 participants, with an age range spanning 17-93 years old.

“Compared to never-smokers, accelerated FEV (forced expiratory volume, or how much a person can forcefully exhale in a breath) decline was observed in former smokers for decades after smoking cessation and in current smokers with low cumulative cigarette consumption,” the study concludes. It’s a scary thought that even if you’ve stopped smoking decades ago, the lung damage will still carry on. 

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And the “health benefit” of being a casual versus heavy smoker isn’t all that much. The study finds that smoking less than five cigarettes a day only decreases lung function decline by an average of 32 percent versus those who smoke at least 30 cigarettes a day.

And the “health benefit” of being a casual versus heavy smoker isn’t all that much. The study finds that smoking less than five cigarettes a day only decreases lung function decline by an average of 32 percent versus those who smoke at least 30 cigarettes a day.

And so science has spoken: You can’t really cut corners when you smoke. On top of the ridiculous sin tax the Philippines has on cigarettes, plus the findings of this study, it makes you think: Is yosi still really worth it? 

Maybe Augustus Waters has a point. Let’s keep cigarettes a metaphor.

Still from Pulp Fiction (1994)

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