(WJBK) - If you're an occasional smoker, some eye-opening research just came out that says you're still substantially raising your health risks.
Here's the headline from this new research "There's no safe level of smoking." The National Cancer Institute studied data from nearly 300,000 older adults.
They looked at two groups, one that smoked one cigarette or less per day and one that smoked one to ten cigarettes a day. They compared both groups to people who had never smoked a day in their life.
"The study did show that there was no safe level of smoking. Even for the people who smoked only one or less cigarette a day they had increased cause of death compared to people who never smoked," says Dr. Humberto Choi from Cleveland Clinic.
Results show people who reported consistently smoking ten or fewer cigarettes per day over their lifetime had a higher risk of death from smoking-related causes, like lung cancer and heart disease, when compared to people who never smoked.
Even folks who smoked just one cigarette a day or less showed a 64 percent higher risk of earlier death compared to non-smokers.
Light, long-term smokers who were able to quit were able to lower their risk of death - and the younger they were when they quit, the better.
"For this kind of study, we worry more about the long-term effects. Even when you smoke a little bit; over the weekend or once or twice a week, the study is showing that that is not safe," says Dr. Choi.
Dr. Choi said the results of the study are an important message to parents, too, as parents who smoke are more likely to have kids that smoke. Likewise, parents who don't smoke are more likely to have kids that never begin smoking.