Smoking even 1 cigarette a day increases heart disease, stroke risk, new research shows – ABC News

Smoking even 1 cigarette a day increases heart disease, stroke risk

PHOTO: A young woman is pictured smoking a cigarette in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

A young woman is pictured smoking a cigarette in this undated stock photo.more +

For those who find it too hard to quit cigarettes cold turkey, the strategy is often to cut back instead — perhaps even to as little as one cigarette per day.

Now, new research published this week in the medical journal BMJ shows that this cutting back may not improve health as much as many people might think. In fact, this study suggests that smoking just one cigarette a day carries approximately 50 percent of the added risk of developing heart disease and stroke that comes with smoking 20 cigarettes a day.

It’s new research that counters what many people have previously thought: that smoking less means proportionately fewer risks to their health.

To investigate the effects of smoking one cigarette a day, researchers at the UCL Cancer Institute at University College London looked at 141 former studies that examined the risk of stroke and heart disease associated with smoking one, five or 20 cigarettes per day.

PHOTO: A hand is pictured holding a burning cigarette in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

A hand is pictured holding a burning cigarette in this undated stock photo.more +

Their results show that men who smoke one cigarette per day have a 46 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 25 percent higher risk of stroke when compared to a nonsmoker. For women, the results were even more staggering — a 57 percent higher risk of heart disease and a 31 percent higher risk of stroke compared to nonsmokers.

These results suggest that in order to truly reduce the long-term risks of smoking cigarettes, cutting back might not be good enough — and the only effective measure is to quit entirely.

Principal study author Allan Hackshaw, deputy director of the University College London Cancer Trials Centre, said he was personally motivated to conduct this study given his many friends and family members who have cut back on — but not quit — their smoking habits.

PHOTO: A cigarette sits in an ashtray in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

A cigarette sits in an ashtray in this undated stock photo.

“For people who smoke, they should try to use whatever help they can find in order to quit — even if that includes using e-cigarettes — if it leads them to quit completely,” he said.

“I hope people can use this information in a positive way that encourages them to stop smoking entirely.”

Experts not involved with the study said the findings are important. Dr. John Spangler, professor of family and community medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, said one could think about the results of the study in terms of a car accident.

“If you could choose, do you want to be hit by a freight train or a minivan?” Spangler said, adding that when it comes to smoking just one cigarette a day, “Yes, it is less risky, but it’s still very risky.”

“If a patient says to me, ‘I want to quit smoking 20 cigarettes a day, but I think I can only cut down to one [cigarette] a day,’ I tell them that there is some harm reduction,” Spangler said. “But you also don’t want to let them off the hook with just one cigarette a day since that causes many problems.”

As for the benefits of quitting completely, Hackshaw noted that such a strategy can even help reverse much of the damage caused by decades of smoking within just a few years.

“By stopping altogether, people can get rid of most of the risks they acquired over the years from smoking cigarettes,” he said.

To learn more about safe and effective measures to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT or make an appointment to talk with your doctor.

Trump says he could push back DACA deadline, wants $25 billion for border wall

PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a sign saying PlayJeff Malet Photography via Newscom

WATCH White House to release ‘legislative framework’ on immigration

President Trump Wednesday expressed optimism about reaching a bipartisan deal on immigration, suggesting he is even open to granting citizenship to Dreamers after a 10- to 12-year period as part of a comprehensive plan.

He also told ABC News’ Jonathan Karl that — if a deal is in sight — he is open to extending the March 5 deadline for ending the DACA program that protects some 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. He said DACA recipients shouldn’t worry.

“Tell them not to be concerned. Tell them not to worry, we’re going to solve the problem,” he told reporters at an impromptu White House news conference.

Asked about citizenship, Trump said, “We’re going to morph into it. It’s going to happen.”

“Over a period of 10 to 12 years if someone does a great job, they’ve worked hard, it gives incentive to do a great job. If they’ve worked hard they’ve done terrifically, whether they have a little company, or whether they’ve worked, whatever they’re doing, if they do a great job I think it’s a nice thing to have the incentive of after a period of years being able to be a citizen,” Trump said.

Trump’s comments came after the White House, earlier in the day, announced it would release its own plan for a compromise on immigration policy Monday that it said both Democrats and Republicans could support and would end the debate that led to last weekend’s government shutdown.

The move comes after members of Congress on both sides have criticized the president for not being clear about what he wants in an immigration deal.

Trump also said Wednesday night that he does not believe Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s statement that his offer to fund a border wall is now off the table as part of an immigration deal, saying he said he made the offer to the president to avoid the government shutdown.

“No. I don’t [believe the wall is off the table]. In fact, I just watched Joe Manchin and he said Schumer does not mean that, and said it very strongly,” Trump said.

The president suggested despite the acrimony between he and Schumer during the shutdown fight, he’s even ready to extend an invitation for a White House meeting again soon.

“Sure, I like him,” Trump said, laughing. “I grew up with Schumer.”

Trump said he will ask for $25 billion to build the wall, but “will build it way under budget.”

If Congress doesn’t come up with a legislative solution for the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients they could face deportation after the March 5 deadline. In the shorter term, the temporary spending resolution ends on Feb. 8, raising the possibility of another government shutdown if there is no bipartisan agreement.

Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn hinted at what Republicans and the president could propose in a new immigration deal on the Hill on Wednesday, telling reporters that if Congress wants a bipartisan solution for DACA recipients, Republicans will want something close to a 10-year appropriation for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and security funding.

Even Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., a trusted Trump ally on Capitol Hill, told ABC News Tuesday night that Republicans needed some guidance from the president on what he wants.

“The president has given us his general outline of what he’s interested in but you can’t do a bill based on a general outline and at some point we’re going to need more specificity from him,” Kennedy said. “And I’m not complaining, I’m just saying at some point we’re going to need to know exactly what the White House is thinking because who wants to pass a bill only to have it vetoed.”

Cornyn also said on the Senate floor Wednesday that Congress will need at least two more short-term spending deals before Democrats and Republicans can come to any sort of agreement to fund the government, raise spending caps, address immigration and DACA, and fund disaster relief.

“As a result of the shutdown, the Democratic leader — who said he voted against the four week continuing resolution because he didn’t like continuing resolutions — he’s guaranteed us at least two more continuing resolutions, even if the spending caps were agreed upon in the next few days,” Cornyn said.

ABC News’s Mariam Khan, Jordyn Phelps, John Santucci, Devin Dwyer, and Cindy Smith contributed to this report



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