The number of “social smokers” in the United States is on the rise, according to a new study. Between 1996 and 2001, the rate of non-daily smoking jumped from 16 percent to 24 percent of smokers, and it has continued to climb since then.
In California, for example, the percentage of smokers who light up only occasionally went from 26 percent in 1992 to 30 percent in 2005, state health figures show.
The new study, published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, aims to help find ways to help social smokers quit. In the 1970s and 80s — as the health risks of smoking became increasingly apparent — the tobacco industry spent millions studying social smokers to figure out what made them tick, according to a June 17 article by Linda Carroll on the MSNBC Web site. http://www.ajpm-online.net/
The article quotes Maria Hynes, a 42-year-old nurse from Bridgeton, N.J., who says: “I don’t crave nicotine. I’ve never been one to have a cigarette while watching TV or reading the paper. When I was pregnant, it was no big deal to quit. So I’ve always checked nonsmoker on medical forms.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/
The reasons for trend toward occasional versus heavy smoking aren’t fully known, but some suggest that a growing awareness of health risks, the stigma surrounding smoking, and the smoking bans in public places are causing people cut back.
But face it, any amount of smoking is still unhealthy. The people at the American Council on Science and Health created a Web site containing facts about smoking.
“Smokers start to smoke while they are in middle school or high school. Almost 90 percent of all smokers start to smoke before reaching the age of 18,” according to the site. “People make the decision to smoke -- one of the most important decisions of their lives -- when they are [teens] or just a little bit older. And unfortunately, many of them don’t have all the facts about cigarettes when they decide to start smoking. In fact, some of them believe myths about smoking that are just plain wrong.”
Get the facts: http://thescooponsmoking.org/xhtml/faq.php