A question that I hear often in my office is "Doctor, I smoke 2-3 cigarettes a day. Is that bad?" You may have made this question too to your doctor or your doctor friends, and it's highly possible that they've given you different answers. Some may think that only no smoking at all is safe, others think that it's safe to smoke 2-3 cigarettes, even 4-5 or 7 cigarettes a day. This answer usually depends on how much the person you ask smokes. If you ask a doctor that smokes a packet a day, he may answer that a few cigarettes a day are absolutely safe. If you ask a doctor that doesn't smoke at all, he may say that only no smoking is safe. This is what studies are for, because they can give us clear answers. One of those studies was published a few years ago after research on 30,000 people. The study tried to correlate some risk factors with their effect on the heart's health, and specifically, the risk of heart attack. This study has shown that even 1-5 cigarettes a day increase the risk of heart attack by 50%. In practice, this means that if a person runs a 10% risk of heart attack in the next 10 years and they smoke 1-5 cigarettes a day, the risk increases to 15%. If they smoke 6-10 cigarettes, the risk doubles and increases from 10% to 20%. Therefore, we see that if they smoke a packet a day, the risk quadruples and increases to 40%. This study has shown two things. First, even a few cigarettes a day are not safe. Second, smoking a packet of cigarettes a day quadruples the risk of heart attack. You'd better take this into account. Thank you very much!

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