Health scare of the week
One daily cigarette is risky
If you assume there’s no harm in having an occasional cigarette, think again. New research from University College London found that people who light up just once a day are still about 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease and 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than those who don’t smoke at all. “There’s been a trend in quite a few countries for heavy smokers to cut down, thinking that’s perfectly fine,” study leader Allan Hackshaw tells BBC.com. “But for these two common disorders, which they’re probably more likely to get than cancer, it’s not the case.” The researchers analyzed 141 studies to determine the heart-related risks associated with smoking one, five, or 20 cigarettes each day. They found that for men, a daily cigarette was linked with a 48 percent higher risk for heart disease and a 25 percent greater risk for stroke. For women, the risk for heart disease jumped to 57 percent, and the risk for stroke to 31 percent.