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Video: Five Cigarettes Or A Pack A Day? Lung Function Suffers The Same
Five cigarettes or a pack a day? Lung function suffers the same
“Many people think that smoking several cigarettes a day is not all that dangerous, but it turns out that the difference in reduced lung function between those who smoke five cigarettes a day and those who smoke two packs a day is relatively small”
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Smoking even fewer than five cigarettes a day causes long-term lung damage. This is evidenced by a new study conducted by scientists from Columbia University and published in the journal The Lancet.
"Many people think that smoking several cigarettes a day is not so dangerous, but it turns out that the difference in the decrease in lung function between those who smoke five cigarettes a day and those who smoke two packs a day," - says the head of the study, Elizabeth Olsner.
Scientists have paid particular attention to lung function (the volume of air a person breathes in and out) in smokers, ex-smokers, and never smokers. Lung function declines naturally with age, starting in the age of 20, and smoking is well known to speed up this process.
Scientists studied more than 25,000 people to see the differences in lung function between low-smokers (less than 5 cigarettes a day) and heavy smokers (more than 30 cigarettes a day). The analysis showed that lung function in few smokers declines at almost the same rate as in heavy smokers. Compared to the rate of decline in those who have never smoked, the additional reduction in smokers is small - 7.65 ml / year and 11.24 ml / year in heavy smokers. This means that someone who smokes a little can lose about the same amount of lung function in a year as a heavy smoker in nine months. Therefore, the authors advise those who smoke a little, not to flatter themselves with imaginary benefits and quit smoking altogether.
The authors also tested the hypothesis that the rate of decrease in lung capacity "normalizes" within a few years after smoking cessation. New research shows that although lung capacity declines more slowly in quitters (by 1.57 ml / year compared to nonsmokers) than in smokers (by 9.42 ml / year), even after 30 years there is no normalization, i.e. reaching the level of never smokers.
“There are anatomical differences in the lungs that persist for years after people quit smoking, and gene activity also remains altered,” says Olsner. The effect of smoking on lung function also explains why smokers are more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is characterized by a drop in lung function below a certain threshold. According to the authors, the risk of developing COPD in few smokers is higher than previously assumed by most researchers, who focused mainly on heavy smokers who have smoked a pack a day for more than 10 years.
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