June 25th, 2009
01:34 PM ET

Is an occasional cigarette that bad for you?

As a regular feature of CNNhealth.com, our team of expert doctors answers readers' questions. Here's a question for Dr. Gupta.

From Troy in Silver Spring, Maryland:

“I heard President Obama recently admit that he still smokes cigarettes occasionally. I know he is trying to quit but I’m curious what the health ramifications are for someone who just smokes once in a while?”


Great question, Troy. More than 46 million adults in America smoke cigarettes. But 70 percent say they would like to quit, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study. There is no question that smoking is a hard habit to break. It's been suggested that nicotine could be as addictive as heroin. And like many Americans reading this right now, the president also struggles to break the habit. Obama admits that,  “as a former smoker, I constantly struggle with it. …Have I fallen off the wagon? Yes."

However, it’s a myth to believe that if you smoke only two cigarettes a week for example, or just on the weekends, that it won't affect your health. Even a few cigarettes can increase your blood pressure,and  put you at a slightly increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Some studies show that young smokers who light up only occasionally have signs of artery disease. And though their risk of developing cancer is nowhere near that of a regular smoker, compared with a non-smoker, the risk is elevated.

One group the new anti-tobacco bill targets are so-called "social smokers.’" The concern is that social smoking can turn into a full-time habit very quickly. Big tobacco companies spend millions of dollars researching and marketing to this demographic.

What’s constitutes a social smoker? If you were to ask them, they’d tell you they don’t consider themselves smokers because they don’t do it every day. Studies show social smokers are younger, often  smoke only with friends at social functions and typically don’t typically purchase their own cigarettes in packs. Because of this, tobacco companies often market to social smokers in bars and clubs. The FDA will now regulate tobacco industry marketing in an effort to reduce social smoking in America.

Bottom line, Troy, is that no quantity of cigarettes is safe or healthy for our body. But for the millions of people struggling to quit right, don’t be discouraged if you slip up and smoke. Smoking one cigarette is much better than an entire pack. And by no means does it mean you’re a smoker again. Start fresh tomorrow. And check out www.smokefree.gov for great information on cessation and support programs.

soundoff (1,427 Responses)
  1. trailer parts orange county


    May 20, 2021 at 23:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 2011 Mercedes Sprinter Rv Repair


    May 21, 2021 at 00:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. horse trailer paint colors


    May 21, 2021 at 00:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. orange county collision

    This is the right blog for anyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 21, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. rv remodel near me

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something relating to this.


    May 21, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Toilets California


    May 21, 2021 at 02:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv supply near me


    May 21, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. school bus windshield replacement


    May 21, 2021 at 04:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Beds Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 05:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. rv fiberglass repair shops


    May 21, 2021 at 06:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Herbalife

    Very soon this website will be famous amid all blog visitors, due to it's
    fastidious posts

    Feel free to visit my web-site; Herbalife

    May 21, 2021 at 07:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Upholstery Riverside


    May 21, 2021 at 07:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. chloroquineorigin

    cloroquina chloroquine sulfate nivaquine aralen price usa https://chloroquineorigin.com/

    May 21, 2021 at 07:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. RV Shower California


    May 21, 2021 at 12:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. national interstate rv insurance reviews

    Good post! We will be linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the good writing.


    May 21, 2021 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. national interstate rv insurance reviews

    Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 21, 2021 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. geico commercial horse


    May 21, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. camera shop orange county


    May 21, 2021 at 15:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Google Marketing Company


    May 21, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Video Marketing Service


    May 21, 2021 at 16:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Slide Out Near Me


    May 21, 2021 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Local Marketing Firm


    May 21, 2021 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. rv awning repair near me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this information.


    May 21, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. repair shops near me


    May 21, 2021 at 19:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. mobile rv generator repair near me


    May 21, 2021 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Content Marketing Firm


    May 21, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. RV Beds Los Angeles


    May 21, 2021 at 23:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. travel trailer slide out repair


    May 22, 2021 at 03:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Digital Marketing Companies


    May 22, 2021 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. tires in orange county ca


    May 22, 2021 at 03:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. RV Couches California

    Right here is the right web site for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject that has been written about for many years. Great stuff, just great!


    May 22, 2021 at 06:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Driver Seats Riverside

    I really love your site.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you build this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own blog and want to find out where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Many thanks!


    May 22, 2021 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. sunroof repair near me

    Great info. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    May 22, 2021 at 09:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. vinyl wrap rv


    May 22, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. RV Frame California


    May 22, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Company Near Me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me as much as this one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely believed you'd have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 22, 2021 at 14:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. motorhome supplies near me

    You made some good points there. I checked on the net to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this site.


    May 22, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. toy restoration near me


    May 22, 2021 at 20:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Content Marketing Company

    That is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate info… Appreciate your sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 22, 2021 at 21:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Frame Los Angeles

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely believed you'd have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 23, 2021 at 03:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Batteries Los Angeles

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest blogs online. I will highly recommend this site!


    May 23, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rv repair services near me

    The very next time I read a blog, I hope that it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read, however I actually thought you would have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 23, 2021 at 08:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv supply near me


    May 23, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. set and forget binary options trading

    Hi there everyone, it's my first visit at this web
    page, and piece of writing is actually fruitful for
    me, keep up posting these posts.

    May 23, 2021 at 23:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. slotcat777

    Hi My first time here. This blog look great and a lot of a good content. I really love it so much and Thanks for sharing a good content like this.Cheer!. Feel free to visit my home page – https://www.slotcat777.com


    May 24, 2021 at 00:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Bathroom Near Me

    That is a really good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 24, 2021 at 02:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Dent Repair Los Angeles

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this article and also the rest of the site is also really good.


    May 24, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. industrial style kitchen Australia

    Thanks for some other informative web site. Where else may I am getting that kind of information written in such
    an ideal means? I have a challenge that I am simply now running on, and I have been on the look
    out for such info.

    May 24, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Batteries Orange County


    May 24, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. couch upholstery repair near me


    May 24, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.