If you just have the occasional cigarette at a party and think it can't do you any harm, America's top medical authority is urging you to think again. Even the odd social puff, or inhaling someone else's secondhand smoke, could be enough to trigger a heart attack, says the US Surgeon General.
In a major report issued today on smoking, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin warns about the risks associated with smoking, with an emphasis on how tobacco smoke poisons your system from the first lungful you inhale.
Each time you take a drag, around 7,000 chemicals spread through your body, says the report. And that causes damage to nearly every one of your organs on a cellular level. The chemicals also change the chemistry of your blood, making it more sticky and prone to forming clots. In the long term, the chemicals damage your blood vessels too, making them more narrow.
As a result, the report claims there is no safe level of cigarette smoke exposure. And that includes not just social smokers but passive smokers too. So while having that one sneaky cig on a night out is not recommended, so too is hanging out with your smoking pals, as Benjamin suggests avoiding people who are smoking in any way possible.
The report, entitled How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease highlights new scientific findings about how deadly cigarettes are and how quickly they can create changes your body.
If you tend to have the odd social smoke, will this report make you think twice while you're out partying this Christmas?