Though he’s been smoking for more than half a century, Ken Fuller said his smoking habits vary from day to day.
“It really depends,” Fuller said. “Some days none, some days 40.”
When told about a recent study published in the British Medical Journal where researchers found that men who smoke one cigarette a day have half the risk of developing coronary heart disease compared to those who smoked 20 per day, Fuller said he does not contest the findings, but assumes they are probably accurate.
The study also found that one cigarette nearly doubles the risk of heart disease, compared with people who do not smoke.
On the other hand, Dan Turner said he disagreed with the study, figuring the risk for developing coronary heart disease for those men would, instead, be about 20 percent. He said he smokes about 20 cigarettes per day.
According to Chloe Reichel of Journalist’s Resource, who initially reported on that study, researchers reviewed 141 studies from 55 publications, all of which examined the association of cigarette consumption with cardiovascular disease.
Researchers found women who smoked one cigarette per day had one-third the risk of developing coronary heart disease compared with women who smoked 20 cigarettes per day.
However, men and women who smoke only one cigarette per day have a significantly higher risk of heart disease compared to those who do not smoke.
As for stroke, men who smoke one cigarette per day still have a 25 percent higher risk of stroke, compared to men who do not smoke. Women have a 31 percent higher risk of stroke compared to women who do not smoke.
Though he disagreed with the findings regarding one cigarette, as opposed to 20 cigarettes, Turner said he did believe the study’s findings of a 48 percent higher risk for men who smoke, compared to those who don’t.
David Seigler said he smokes about a pack a day and has been smoking for about 30 years. He joked that he owns a restaurant and said he’s probably not the healthiest person around. The findings of the study make sense, he said, but added that but decisions about whether to smoke are a matter of balance.
“I have a 48 percent chance of slipping in the bathtub and breaking my neck,” he said. “Still, at my age, 50 now, I still think like I did when I was 16. I’m not unbreakable. I go to the doctor regularly, but it’s not something that’s worth the pain now.”
The study’s researchers note that there is no safe level of smoking for cardiovascular disease, encouraging smokers to quit.
Seigler and Turner both said they have tried to quit smoking cigarettes in the past. Turner said he’s tried to quit four times, but always started back up. As for Fuller, he said he has stopped before for years at a time, but has never quit permanently.