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Smoking in moderation.. is it really that bad?


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I smoke something (usually a cigar) maybe once a week while at college, and maybe once a month during the summer. During the summer months when I go for weeks and weeks without one, I will often completely forget about them, so I don't think I'm in any way addicted to smoking...

I have not noticed any adverse effects to my stamina or health, since I do a lot of cardio training for my sport. I get really stressed out a lot, and the occasional 'cigar' helps me unwind.

Is my "habit" really that detrimental to my health? What are my risks? Do I seriously need to completely stop?

Edited Mar 24 2008 18:13 by nycgirl
Reason: 3/19/08: Stickied. 3/24/08: Unstickied
55 Replies (last)

It is detrimental to your health. Your risks are cancer, hardened blood vessels, and addiction. You should stop.

That said, I occassionally smoke half a cigar (maybe twice a year). It's usually when I'm out drinking and I feel like crap the next day. Even with not inhaling.

No. It would be no worse than spending a day in a big city with poor air quality. Like everything in life, enjoy things in moderation.

Original Post by hgielrehtaeh:

It is detrimental to your health. Your risks are cancer, hardened blood vessels, and addiction. You should stop.

That said, I occassionally smoke half a cigar (maybe twice a year). It's usually when I'm out drinking and I feel like crap the next day. Even with not inhaling.

hgielrehtaeh - perhaps you should re-read you posts before you hit the "post reply" button.

hmmm...well, i have smoked a couple of cigarettes before (as in like, 3). I always seemed to have breathing difficulties later though. just my personal experience though, and it might vary from individual to individual.

I just searched the internet for some information, and received a pretty mixed group of answers, much like this thread has supplied. Of course the bottom line I keep reading is that the best thing to do is to not smoke at all. But I certainly haven't gotten a unanimous position regarding the health issues of smoking a cigar 3-4 times per month.

I never have breathing difficulties.  

hgielrehtaeh: are you saying that at my rate of smoking I could get cancer or hardened blood vessels?

Original Post by b_leversedge:

Original Post by hgielrehtaeh:

It is detrimental to your health. Your risks are cancer, hardened blood vessels, and addiction. You should stop.

That said, I occassionally smoke half a cigar (maybe twice a year). It's usually when I'm out drinking and I feel like crap the next day. Even with not inhaling.

hgielrehtaeh - perhaps you should re-read you posts before you hit the "post reply" button.

Not sure why.... I was being honest. Smoking is bad for you. Even people who smoke know that. And it's funny you said I should "re-read you posts"...uh...maybe you should re-read youR posts before you post them!

And I'm not sure how likely it is that you'll get cancer or hardened blood vessels. But I do know people who don't smoke that have worked in smokey environments and got cancer from second hand smoke.

I smoked for more than 40 yrs before stopping, and now have COPD.  I will die from my illness and I have just now earned my retirement.  COPD means I will have to sell my home because I can't climb stairs, and I am a photographer but can't climb mountains or even little tiny hills to take pictures any more.

Both my children had asthma by age 5 and I never knew back in the 60's that they were sick because of me.

I always thought I could moderate and quit, but the tobacco companies added other chemicals to insure your total dependence on them.  Perhaps it is 1 or 2 a month now, but is that what it will be next year?  Tobacco companies will go to any extreme to get you permanently hooked.

Trust me, ask any smoker if they ever thought that when they started if they would be addicted one day and they will tell you no.  Ask any smoker if they like to smoke, and want to continue to smoke, and they will tell you no.  Everyone starts with just a few, and the body rebels...think about it, didn't the first one make you sick?  It was your body's way of telling you that you are putting poison in it!  I am a smoker who did not start until I was 21, and at 38, have tried to quit several times.  If I could go back in time...

There is saying, that is so true..."one cigarette is too many, and 1,000 is not enough"

I know you are talking about cigars, but it is the same premise.  The fact that you are even asking the questions shows that you know what you are doing is not good for you.  Stop while you can, and good luck!

"There is no safe level of smoking."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4265600.stm

 http://quitsmoking.about.com/od/cigarspipesan dsmokeless/a/CigarSmokeFacts.htm

The choice is yours, but there are healthier ways to deal with getting stressed out, if that's your main motivator.

Original Post by cnjjeanmard:

Trust me, ask any smoker if they ever thought that when they started if they would be addicted one day and they will tell you no.  Ask any smoker if they like to smoke, and want to continue to smoke, and they will tell you no.  Everyone starts with just a few, and the body rebels...think about it, didn't the first one make you sick?  It was your body's way of telling you that you are putting poison in it!  I am a smoker who did not start until I was 21, and at 38, have tried to quit several times.  If I could go back in time...

There is saying, that is so true..."one cigarette is too many, and 1,000 is not enough"

I know you are talking about cigars, but it is the same premise.  The fact that you are even asking the questions shows that you know what you are doing is not good for you.  Stop while you can, and good luck!

Ok while I greatly appreciate all the responses so far, I have a few of my own, particularly regarding this post.

I have asked your addiction question of several people who have smoked cigars for years, and they all actually said yes. Everyone today knows that if they continue smoking, they will become eventually become addicted to some degree.

All of these same people also said they still enjoyed smoking cigars. Hence.... they still smoke cigars. I didn't ask cigarette smokers. I will never touch cigarettes. Due to the risk of sounding elitist, I won't get into why. But one thing I will mention is that the culture of cigars is not terribly conducive to smoking multiple times a day. Many sources I've found online, such as one supplied by santonacci, say that occasional cigar smokers are at a much lower risk than daily cigarette smokers.

And no, the first time I smoked, I didn't get sick, I got very buzzed.

I probably sound like the close-minded teen scoffing at the advice of those who obviously have more experience, but I have thoroughly thought this through and have yet to see any firm example or statistic showing that my particular smoking frequency merits completely quitting. So far, it actually sounds like my incredibly typical college drinking habit is more detrimental to my health.

I was not fussing at you, Sweetie, I was merely stating an opinion.  That is the beauty of posting, you will get varied responses, and sometimes ones that you do not want to hear.  I was looking out for you in my opinion.  Ask me about my college days-I did far more dangerous things than smoke a cigarette.

I'm just looking for "any firm example or statistic showing that my particular smoking frequency merits completely quitting". Period.
Original Post by hillpitcher2006:

I'm just looking for "any firm example or statistic showing that my particular smoking frequency merits completely quitting". Period.

Why?  It's been shown that smoking in any amount is less healthy than not smoking at all, regardless of the amount of "moderation."

If you want to smoke cigars and honestly think it's not a big deal, then go ahead (but abide by public ordinances).

Here's a reason to quit that's not even health related:  I was once hit on by a guy, apparently right after he smoked a cigar.  He was good looking, actually downright hot, but I couldn't get over the stink of his breath and clothes from the cigar.  Total turnoff.

Is post #2 incorrect?

Original Post by cnjjeanmard:

Trust me, ask any smoker if they ever thought that when they started if they would be addicted one day and they will tell you no. Ask any smoker if they like to smoke, and want to continue to smoke, and they will tell you no. Everyone starts with just a few, and the body rebels...think about it, didn't the first one make you sick? It was your body's way of telling you that you are putting poison in it! I am a smoker who did not start until I was 21, and at 38, have tried to quit several times. If I could go back in time...

There is saying, that is so true..."one cigarette is too many, and 1,000 is not enough"

I know you are talking about cigars, but it is the same premise. The fact that you are even asking the questions shows that you know what you are doing is not good for you. Stop while you can, and good luck!

 I, personally LOVE to smoke.  I smoke about a half a pack a day.  I've been smoking for 18 years.  Some times it goes up to a pack, other times it goes down to a few a day...but overall, I personally love smoking.

I also run 6+ miles a day.

Now...do I condone it (smoking...not running)?  No...

No smoking is not good, none of it, but as someone stated earlier, the amount you smoke is equivalent to being in a smog filled city for a day.  It's far worse to sit in a smoke filled bar for the evening than it is to smoke a cigar twice a year.   Life is full of dangers, you know what could potentially happen...it's up to you to weigh out what's important to you.

Original Post by tatjanaturtle:

 No smoking is not good, none of it, but as someone stated earlier, the amount you smoke is equivalent to being in a smog filled city for a day.  It's far worse to sit in a smoke filled bar for the evening than it is to smoke a cigar twice a year.   Life is full of dangers, you know what could potentially happen...it's up to you to weigh out what's important to you.

While I agree with you that a person needs to weigh out what it important to them and weigh benefits (enjoyment) vs costs (potential health risks), I don't think saying that something else is worse, or just as bad, is a logical reason to do anything.

Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is definitely more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt, but it's still a good idea to wear the seatbelt.

#17  
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Original Post by hillpitcher2006:

I'm just looking for "any firm example or statistic showing that my particular smoking frequency merits completely quitting". Period.

 If you want opinions, ask on a message board. If you want firm examples and statistics, do the research yourself. Sorry, but I don't understand why you post asking this question if you only want to hear opinions that agree with yours. OR why you think people are going to go out and do the work for you.

Original Post by santonacci:

Original Post by tatjanaturtle:

No smoking is not good, none of it, but as someone stated earlier, the amount you smoke is equivalent to being in a smog filled city for a day. It's far worse to sit in a smoke filled bar for the evening than it is to smoke a cigar twice a year. Life is full of dangers, you know what could potentially happen...it's up to you to weigh out what's important to you.

While I agree with you that a person needs to weigh out what it important to them and weigh benefits (enjoyment) vs costs (potential health risks), I don't think saying that something else is worse, or just as bad, is a logical reason to do anything.

Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is definitely more dangerous than driving without a seatbelt, but it's still a good idea to wear the seatbelt.

Sometimes, life just isn't as important to one person as it is to another...

I stand by my advice of weighing out potential pros (enjoy it) and cons (cancer, heart issues, death etc) and see what's important to you.

I never ride with a helmet.

...yet I always wear my seatbelt....

I'm not trying to be an ass...just trying to tell the OP to weigh out what he knows and make his own decisions.

 

Edited for: Spelling errors. 

I am with Fransen.  I have COPD however, I am 24 and it is what caused my grandfathers death and my mother has advanced COPD. With my age and given the fact that I smoked for 13 years (1 pack a day for maybe 5 or so years then moving on to 2 packs from that point forward) but have now quit, I can still recover from this.  It will take 15+ years.  However, I think smoking is gross and yes, I do find it to be a turn off, even if a guy is attractive.  Yucky and smelly.  Do what you want though, they are your lungs.

You dont need a weight loss message board to tell you smoking is bad.  If you do, I dont even think you are mature enough TO smoke in that case.

Ladies and Gentlemen...

I would like to remind all smokers in the house that every cigarrette or cigar you smoke takes away on average 8 seconds from your life. Not only that...the remaining time tends to suck really bad. It's not about good cardio condition(like some smoking runners here have mentioned..." but i run this much every day!!") it's about putting crap - CANCER producing compounds in your system. it shows inside and out.

Did you know that not only you risk lung cancer(which by the way kills most people in less than one year-painful death too)?

...lung cancer doesn't stay in your lungs it has a tendency to go to your brain and your bones(among other places)

... lung cancer patients can and do end up paraplegic if the cancer goes to their spinal canal, not to mention the pain related to this is exquisite. but it doesn't end there...

If you mix ALCOHOL and SMOKING then you have the even greater advantage of getting to damage now not only your lungs primarily but your digestive system as well.

Smoking or chewing tobacco put you at risk for ORAL cavity cancer. Mix it up with alcohol and WHAM! If facial deformity is your thing...go for it. You always know who the oral cancer patients are because they end up losing half their face when the cancer spreads to the tissues around the mouth. I'm not kidding they walk around with a hole where their face used to be. (Painful and not good looking) Besides you lose your ability to use your mouth to feed yourself so these people also end up with feeding tubes a lot of times.

Oh you have never seen them in person? Well lets just say they dont neccesarily like walking around the shopping mall like that.

check this out:

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635197353,00.html

www.healthwellnc.com/TRUstories/GruenText.htm l

(2 patients with oral cancer from tobacco- dont take my word for it look at this, at least you cant say nobody warned you) 

Oh and lets not forget our esophageal cancer patients. Not as many as the lung patients but let tell you. Just as deadly. The ones the doctors take the risk of operating on. B/c by the way...esophageal cancer surgery is one of the riskiest surgeries out there. Just do some research don't take my word on it. 

I work at a hospital and I see these people every day. There are few things as sad as having to tell someone that instead of going on that vacation/wedding/special occasion they need emergency surgery because they might be dead or unable to move or think. Cancer has the uncanny ability to sho w up at the worst moments: Just 2 months into your retirement...just before your child's wedding... I would say 99.9% of them stop smoking right then and there...and say they wished they had done it before. 

Smoking is an expensive, senseless habit. If you saw someone banging their head against the wall...would you stop them? What's the benefit of smoking? Five minutes of pleasure? Eventually losing your sense of taste. Eventually losing your full capacity to breath. Losing your face. Losing your ability to swallow. Losing your ability to move. Nobody talks about this things. They again think in very simplistics ways. 

How much could you do if you were not smoking? With that time and with that money? How much more could you run? How much faster? Are you willing to give up your precious life and good quality of life up in smoke?

Is being alive a risk? Most definitely. But with all the things out there trying to kill you, you would think its a good idea to eliminate the ones with higher chances. We know driving drunk is a good way to get yourself killed. Hey smoking is another good way. I guess one takes a little longer than the other....but the end product? Exactly the same.

When I was younger I used to enjoy the occasional cigarrette too. But after working in this industry and seeing first hand what this filth will do to your body I never once touched nicotine in any form again. Not worth it.

BTW I only briefly mentioned some of the main cancers related to smoking. Its hard to tell how tobacco is enough to cause cancer in each individual. Bottom line is no amount is safe. Other honorable mentions:

Cancer of the bladder: Smoking is a cause of bladder cancer. Forty-three percent of male and 36% of female bladder cancers can be attributed to smoking.

Cancer of the kidney: Cigarette smoking is at least a contributory factor and possibly a causal factor in development of cancers of the parenchyma and pelvis of the kidney. Smoking has been estimated to be a factor in 28% of cancers of the kidney parenchyma in males and 21% in females, and 55% of cancers of the kidney pelvis in males and 48% in females.

Cancer of the pancreas: Cigarette smoking is at least a contributory and may be a causal factor in the development of pancreatic cancer. It is estimated that 24% of pancreatic cancer in males and 19% in females is attributable to smoking.

Cancer of the stomach: Epidemiological studies have shown an association between cigarette smoking and stomach cancer. It is estimated that 14% of stomach cancer in men and 11% in women can be attributed to smoking.

Cancers of the uterine cervix and vulvar: Women who smoke cigarettes have a greater risk of developing cancers of the cervix and vulvar. For cervical cancer, the relationship appears to be dose-responsive, with one study finding an 80% increased risk of developing the cancer among heavy smokers. It is estimated that 19% of all cases of cervical cancer and 40% of vulvar cancer are caused by smoking.

Cancer of the PENIS: Increased risk of penile cancer is associated with smoking. It is estimated that 30% of cancers of the penis are caused by cigarette smoking.

Guys this is a very macho thing. Cancer right there...awesome. Remember don't stop for you, stop for him! 

Cancer of the anus: Research indicates that there are increased risks associated with smoking and cancers of the anus. Overall, 48% of anal cancer in males and 41% in females is caused by smoking.

I hope this information helps you and others looking into good reasons not to smoke. Is your personal decision is you want to risk any of these conditions. I would say its TOTALLY not worth it.

Have a good day. Please don't take this information lightly. 

Thanks for your attention.

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