I still smoke... How many cigarettes should I have daily?
Do you enjoy an occasional smoke? If you do, you might have wondered how many you can safely smoke a day. Maybe you just smoke socially on the weekends rather than throughout the week?
Surely it is safer to smoke a few cigarettes a day rather than a whole pack? And if so, how many cigarettes should you have daily?
What is a heavy smoker?
Although there is no strict definition, heavy smokers tend to burn through at least a pack of 20 cigarettes a day. Smoking this amount of cigarettes dramatically increases the risk of a number of health issues.
Heavy smokers are also the least likely to kick the habit. This level of nicotine addiction is the hardest to break. If you smoke heavily, it is wise to seek out some quitting support. Although it could take longer to reach the nicotine-free dream, the health benefits of quitting are huge.
Chain-smoking is the habit of lighting up one cigarette after another. Although it might look cool on Netflix - Mad Men anyone? - it is a sign of serious addiction and is very harmful. Chain-smoking is much less common for younger people. Probably because we’ve all grown up with an awareness of the dangers of tobacco.
Chain smoking can also happen occasionally as a result of drinking alcohol or being with other people who smoke. It can also be caused by emotional triggers such as anxiety, depression or stress.
Benefits of smoking less
Although smoking less rather than quitting is controversial, there are a number of benefits.
- It kick-starts the quit journey - if you aren’t totally set on quitting smoking for good, it is a positive step in the right direction towards becoming smoke-free.
- It reduces long term health problems - the risk of heart disease and lung cancer are reduced.
- You save more money - spending less on cigarettes will give you more money to spend on other treats instead.
- It prolongs your life - life expectancy is increased by cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke.
- It is a positive lifestyle change - relying less on cigarettes to get you through the day gives you more time for other activities.
So if cold turkey isn't your style, try cutting down at first. Replacing some of your usual smokes with a ripple+ nicotine free diffuser is a great way to start. Our plant-powered puffs are pure magic. They transport you to a land of calm and relaxation thanks to their aromatherapy superpowers.
What is a light smoker?
If you smoke very occasionally - save it for a big night out? - you might not even consider yourself a smoker. Light smokers are defined by how many cigarettes they smoke. If you are a social smoker, or only reach for a cigarette a few times a day, you are considered to be a light smoker.
Surprisingly, more than 10 cigarettes a day bumps you into the moderate smoker category. Unfortunately, smoking less still exposes you to the dangers of smoking. For women, smoking just one cigarette a day more than doubles their risk of heart disease.
Does inhaling smoke secondhand make you a light smoker? Research has discovered that exposure to secondhand smoke does impact your body. Although smoking directly is significantly worse, passive smoking still causes damage to your health.
In 2014, 58 million people in the US were exposed to secondhand smoke. Since smoking is now banned in most public places, passive smoking has reduced significantly. However, being exposed to cigarette smoke can still increase the risk of a number of health problems.
- Respiratory infections
- Asthma attacks
- Lung cancer
- Other types of cancer
- Heart disease
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Consequences of light smoking
Even light smokers are likely to suffer from negative health consequences. According to some research, people who smoked between 1 and 4 cigarettes a day were still at a much higher risk of dying from heart disease or lung cancer.
Is there a safe amount of cigarettes?
The bottom line is that there really is no safe amount of cigarettes. According to a study by the National Cancer Institute, smoking less than one cigarette a day increases the risk of earlier death by 64%. For example, the risk of dying from lung cancer was nine times higher than for those who had never smoked. So smoking is risky however many you light up in a day.
Cutting down might make you feel better, but in the long run, you are still at risk from a whole host of health complications.
Cutting down or quitting?
There are arguments for and against cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke. Whilst most believe that quitting cold turkey is the best way to quit smoking, cutting down can smooth the journey. Once you’ve decided on a quit date, try and reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke each day.
Smoking less is a positive step you can take on your journey towards being smoke free. Follow these tips to help you cut down:
- Set goals - decide how many to smoke over a week, then reduce this amount over a few weeks. This helps make achieving your goals more bearable.
- Get active - when the nicotine craving strikes, don’t immediately light up. Do something physical instead. Try a brisk walk, jogging on the spot or even a quick HIIT workout. Anything to help break the habit.
- Adopt a new habit - think of something you could do instead of reaching for a cigarette. Take up drawing, journaling or crafting. Anything that occupies your hands to stop you from smoking.
What alternatives are there?
If you are concerned about the number of cigarettes you smoke a day, take steps to reduce your dependence and look at alternatives to smoking.
There’s no getting away from the fact that smoking is a highly addictive habit. Nicotine is incredibly difficult to quit. Nowadays, there are hundreds of smoking cessation products on the market. Part of your quit journey is deciding which ones are right for you.
But to reduce or eliminate your risk of health complications the best thing to do is quit the habit completely. That way you will avoid any damage and you will feel healthy and wealthy too.