Although smoking rate has gone down recently in the United States, light smoking is still “fashionable”, especially among young women, according to a new study. The researchers who conducted the study said that young American women indulge in light smoking, which means they enjoy smoking no more than five tobacco cigarettes on a daily basis.
The new study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Texas and it involved analyzing the data from more than 9,700 women of ages between 18 and 25. According to the scientists, about one fifth of the studied women, who had a certain level of college education and were not older than 20, engaged in light smoking habits.
The scientists explained they wanted to do the study on women mainly because of the damaging effects of smoking on the reproductive health. Also, the experts said that another reason for conducting the study was the way smoking companies depict smoking women in their advertisements, making it look like something “cool” and women who do it are “modern” and “independent”.
The researchers wrote in their study that tobacco companies often advertise their cigarettes linking smoking habits with sophistication, independence and attractiveness in order to appeal to young women. Scientists said that all these factors can influence women into getting them to start smoking.
The study reveals that most of the women who indulge in light smoking are between 18 and 22, which means they start smoking during their college years. Most of them start smoking at parties as a way of socializing and fitting in with the others. Carole Holahan, one of the researchers who conducted the study, explained that it’s extremely important to make the light smokers aware of the health risk involved. Holahan added that even small amounts of tobacco can be very harmful for our health, and usually, light smoking leads to heavy smoking.
Light smokers don’t really think of themselves as “real smokers” and want to believe that by smoking five or less cigarettes a day is not harmful. Dr. Len Horovitz, an expert in pulmonary disease from Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, warns that even light smokers are three times more likely to develop a heart disease later in their life.
Patricia Folan, from the Center for Tobacco Control, said that those who are light smokers and those who don’t smoke on a daily basis often increase their number of cigarettes and become daily, heavy smokers.
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