Only Smoke When You've Been Drinking? This Doctor Has A Warning For You

If you can go from zero to a chimney in the time it takes to drink a pint, this is for you.
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Okay FINE, I’ll admit it. When it comes to having the occasional cigarette, I’m more than guilty – on a normal day I don’t care about them, but the second I’ve had a pint or glass of wine I can go from zero to Dot Cotton in a matter of seconds.

“That’s why you’ve got two hands – one for the pint and the other for the ciggie,” I used to joke while sparking up in a beer garden.

Come Monday however, the ‘secret’ packet of cigarettes is back in the drawer where it’ll stay until the following weekend.

I’m far from alone – although stats about social smoking are hard to come by, according to ASH (Action on Smoking and Health), one in eight adults in the UK smokes ‘properly’, so there’s no doubt plenty of social smokers like myself who don’t categorise themselves at this.

But what is it actually doing to my insides? Part of the reason I’ve never given up the occasional cigarette (or ten) is because surely my sneaky habit can’t be as bad as being a full-time smoker. Right? RIGHT?

Well, no, according to Dr Karan Rajan. HuffPost UK recently sat down with TikTok’s favourite doctor to get the lowdown – and sorry social smokers, we’ve got news you ain’t gonna like.

“Sorry, but there is no amount of smoking, whether it’s one puff, one cigarette, or one packet, or ten packets, that isn’t damaging,” he explains.

“Yes, it’s a sliding scale, in that one or two cigarettes will be less likely to cause you harm than having 20 cigarettes a day, but it still causes harm in some way.”

And the ‘oh it’s just at the weekend or after a drink’ mindset can actually make it harder to quit ciggies for good, Dr Rajan warns.

“When it’s just one or two, you get into the mindset of ‘oh, it’s just one or two or three or four’, and you actually keep it as a habit long term,” he says.

“And paradoxically, you might be more likely to quit if you’re a heavy smoker and think ‘I’ve really got to change my life’. When it’s just one or two a day, and everything else is fine, you may be more likely to keep that habit for the rest of your life and not feel the need to quit because it’s only now and again.”

Argh, okay, Dr Rajan I get it. But in case you need one last kick to get you to start thinking about skipping your post-pint smokes, this should do it:

“I don’t think at the end of the day, cancer is thinking ‘oh that person’s just smoking one or two a day, we won’t cause cancer in that person.’

“No one’s immune from lung cancer. And if you smoke, AT ALL, you’re going to have an increased risk of getting lung cancer and various other cancers as well. The end.”

Consider me told...

This Book May Save Your Life by Dr Karan Rajan is out now. Follow him on TikTok here.

Dr Karan Rajan