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STUDY: Tobacco harmful in any form
JOURNAL: J Epidemiol Community Health 2002;56:702-706.
AUTHORS: Dr. Eva Prescott
ABSTRACT: Even smokers who consume as little as 3 to 5 grams of tobacco per day and those who do not inhale are placing themselves at increased risk for myocardial infarction (MI) and death, according to a report published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
COMMENTARY: The current findings dispel the myth held by many smokers that consumption of few cigarettes or smoking without inhalation is not hazardous to their health.
Women appear to be particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of such smoking habits. The authors believe this is because women are more prone to respiratory disease than men and because smoking alters the natural balance of the cardioprotective hormone estrogen.
The current study involved 6505 women and 5644 men who were drawn from the general population of Copenhagen in 1976. At enrollment, the subjects were surveyed regarding their current and past smoking habits. The subjects were followed until 1998 to determine the occurrence of first MI as well as all cause mortality.
For study purposes, smoking one cigarette was equated to 1 gram of tobacco consumption, one cheroot to 3 grams, and one cigar to 5 grams of tobacco.
Women who consumed 3 to 5 grams of tobacco per day were more than twice as likely as women who never smoked to experience an MI, the authors note. In addition, such women were 86% more likely to die during the study period than were those who never smoked.
Among men, similar increased risks were noted when the use of 6 to 9 grams of tobacco per day was compared with non-use.
The risk of MI and all-cause mortality was also increased in female smokers who did not inhale. However, for men, only the all-cause mortality risk was significantly increased relative to non-smoking.
The type of tobacco product used significantly influenced the mortality risk. Specifically, cigarette smokers were more likely to die during the study period than were smokers of other tobacco products.
Although from a toxicology point of view it is not surprising that the dose-response relation between smoking and morbidity does not have a lower threshold limit, from a public health point of view it is important to recognize the increased risk associated with even a low consumption of tobacco.
Bottom line is try your best not to smoke!!!!!!!