January 21, 2015

Teenage Smokers Underestimate Risks of Light and Intermittent Smoking

Although most teenagers believe heavy smoking is dangerous, nearly one-quarter of adolescents believe intermittent smoking causes little or no harm, an article in Pediatrics reports this month.  The article reported on the results of a survey of nearly 25,000 U.S. adolescents. The survey found that boys, younger teens, Hispanics, and non-Hispanic blacks were more likely than their peers to view light and intermittent smoking as less harmful. 

The article’s authors considered heavy smokers as those who smoked more than five cigarettes a day; light smokers as those who smoked five or fewer daily. It considered intermittent smokers as those who smoked, but did not do so every day.  The study found that nearly 1 in 11 adolescents believes light smoking will cause little or no harm. “Intermittent smoking is viewed as even less suspect, with nearly one-quarter of all adolescents reporting nondaily smoking will cause little or no harm.”

The article said these beliefs are worrisome because light and intermittent smoking “carry health risks comparable to heavier smoking patterns.”

Click here to read the full article.