Is Occasional Smoking Risky?

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 09:44 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: I quit smoking 25 years ago (I'm 63) and in good health. Occasionally (maybe once a month), I smoke a cigarette when I’m out socially with a friend who still smokes. Is there any harm in that? 

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
 
So you started at 16 and stopped at 38? That is one pack per day for 22 years: a significant risk! You are very fortunate to be in good health now.  But the risk of cancer as well as lung damage increases with your accumulated use of tobacco, so you ARE playing with fire indeed.
 
Knowing the devastation that smoking causes, why do you tempt fate? Cigarettes are known to contain carcinogens. Your risk is elevated by prior exposure, so why add to it? Is it really worth it. I think not. Also, remember that passive exposure to the smoke from your friend's use will only further add to your risk.

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