85% of the daily cigarette smokers and 35% of those who smoked casually were addicted to nicotine.
In a not so distant past, only smokers who consumed 10 cigarettes per day or more, were considered “addicts”. However, indicates the current study, even some smokers who smoke less than a cigarette per day may be addicted to nicotine.
“In the past, some considered that only patients who smoke around 10 cigarettes per day or more were addicted, and I still hear that sometimes,” said Jonathan Foulds, Professor at Pennsylvania State University in the US. “But this study demonstrates that many lighter smokers, even those who do not smoke every day, can be addicted to cigarettes. It also suggests that we need to be more precise when we ask about cigarette smoking frequency.”
The extent to one’s addiction is related to the amount of consumed
The researchers analysed data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the US, from over 6,700 smokers who had been fully assessed to find out if they met the 11 criteria listed in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) for tobacco use disorder. They found that while 85% of the daily cigarette smokers were addicted to nicotine, 35% of those who smoked casually were addicted as well.
“Surprisingly, almost two thirds of those smoking only one to four cigarettes per day were addicted, and around a quarter of those smoking less than weekly were addicted,” said Foulds. However, the extent to one’s addiction was correlated with the amount of cigarettes consumed.
“Lighter smoking is correctly perceived as less harmful than heavy smoking, but it still carries significant health risks,” said Jason Oliver, Assistant Professor at Duke University in the US.
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