New York, December 24 (IANS): Even if you consider yourself a light or “casual” smoker, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve completely avoided nicotine addiction, warns new research.
Many light smokers – those who smoke one to four cigarettes a day or less – meet the criteria for nicotine addiction and should therefore be considered for treatment, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“In the past, some thought that addicts were just patients who smoked about 10 cigarettes a day or more, and I still hear that sometimes,” said Jonathan Foulds, a professor at Pennsylvania State University in the United States.
“But this research shows that many smokers who smoke more easily, even those who don’t smoke every day, can be addicted to cigarettes. It also suggests we need to be more precise when we ask about the frequency of smoking.”
The researchers examined existing data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, including more than 6,700 smokers who were fully evaluated to determine if they met the 11 criteria listed in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) for tobacco use disorder. .
They found that 85 percent of daily cigarette smokers were somewhat addicted – whether mild, moderate or severe.
“Surprisingly, nearly two-thirds of those who smoke only one to four cigarettes a day were addicted, and about a quarter of those who smoke less than a week were addicted,” Foulds said.
The researchers found that the severity of cigarette addiction, as indicated by the number of criteria met, increased with the frequency of smoking, with 35 percent smoking one to four cigarettes a day and 74 percent smoking 21 cigarettes or more a day being moderate or severe. addicted.
“Lighter smoking is rightly perceived as less harmful than heavy smoking, but it still carries significant health risks,” said Jason Oliver, an assistant professor at Duke University in the United States.