New research is here, that grapples with a familiar giant. Smokers around the world find it hard to kick an old habit. At times they try to buy time by assuming that, cutting down on the number of cigarettes they smoke, may avoid health related catastrophes. Well, latest research disagrees.
A study published by 'Tobacco Control' has proven that it doesn't matter if you halve the number of cigarettes you smoke or continue to smoke 15 cigarettes or more a day. The effect remains just as bad. The road that leads to a quicker death remains equally wide in both cases. In short, Kjell Bjartveit, the lead researcher explained that reducing intake does not reduce risk of dying. Cutting down smoking is not a substitute for quitting, this addictive habit. And neither does it cut the risks involved with heavy smoking. The researchers have openly asked doctors and health workers to think twice before they advocate cutting measures to heavy smokers.
A very elaborate screening was done in 1970's on young adults between the ages 20-49. Two to three follow up screening was also done over the next fifteen years. Questionnaires were include that covered a wide range of topics to determine how their lifestyle and other factors influenced those who were heavy smokers amongst them.
The screening revealed that irrespective of gender differences, cutting down of smoking did not make any significant reduction in cardiac risk or cancer risk that was ever present among heavy smokers. This was in spite of making allowances for age, body weight and family history of blood pressure disorders, high cholesterol, and other changeable factors.
During the third follow-up there was another group of participants who had hitherto given up smoking totally. They, surprisingly, showed a 50% lower mortality rate as compared to others who never gave up completely.
The researchers firmly emphasize that reduction in smoking can only be the stepping stone to success. It can never replace the ultimate solution, which has to be 'quitting' the habit altogether.
Bill Blatt, from American Lung Association opines that quitting is difficult to achieve based on sheer will power alone. He suggests that it ought to be augmented with other methods like, oral medication, and also closely monitored counseling.
To sum up, it can be safely said that heavy smoking is always a grave issue, with all pointers pointing to the grave!