Any amount of smoking can lead to addiction and cause serious health consequences. Even if you don’t smoke regularly, smoking a cigarette every now and then puts your health and future at risk.
“I only smoke when I go out.”
“I only smoke a little.”
“Sometimes I go for days between cigarettes, so I’m not addicted.”
“I just bum cigarettes from friends now and then.”
Sound familiar? You may think your tobacco use is no big deal, but if you smoke—even just a little or occasionally—you are putting your health at risk and increasing the chances that you will become a lifelong smoker. Light, occasional, and social smoking has many similar health risks to heavier smoking patterns.
Here’s what you should know about smoking (even in small amounts):
- On average, every cigarette you smoke shortens your life by 11 minutes.
- In some teens, all it takes is 1 cigarette a month to show signs of addiction.
- Teens who smoke can develop smaller, weaker lungs that never grow to their full size or perform the best they can.
Light smoking is smoking regularly, but not a lot of cigarettes at a time—maybe a few cigarettes a day. The term light doesn’t mean this type of smoking is any less harmful. Light smoking has similar health risks to heavier smoking, and can lead to addiction.
Intermittent smoking is infrequent smoking, one day here, another there, but not on a regular schedule. This type of smoking is not safe for your health. And, even if you don’t smoke every day, you can become addicted and have a hard time quitting.
Social smoking is smoking in social situations, like at parties or when hanging out with friends. Social smokers are still smokers and are exposing themselves to similar health risks of frequent smokers. You might feel like social smoking is common, but the truth is 9 out of 10 high school students don’t smoke. Learn more about how your social life can impact your decisions about using tobacco.
Bottom line: There is no safe amount of smoking. Quitting now is the best choice you can make for your health. Your future self will thank you!