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. 15 minute covid test near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. landfill near me


    June 16, 2021 at 20:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Repairs Near Me


    June 16, 2021 at 22:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Repairs Near My Location


    June 16, 2021 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Camper Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. RV Repair Shops Nearby

    May I simply just say what a relief to uncover somebody that truly understands what they are discussing online. You certainly know how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular since you certainly possess the gift.


    June 17, 2021 at 03:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa


    June 17, 2021 at 04:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. RV Repair Nearby


    June 17, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. skateparks near me

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up plus the rest of the website is also really good.


    June 17, 2021 at 04:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. RV Repair Near Me Now

    Howdy! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Going through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept talking about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!


    June 17, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. RV Repair Fountain Valley


    June 17, 2021 at 06:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. RV Repair California


    June 17, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 17, 2021 at 08:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Repair Shops Near My Location


    June 17, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 17, 2021 at 10:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. yard sales near me

    May I simply say what a relief to discover someone that truly understands what they're discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular since you surely have the gift.


    June 17, 2021 at 10:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. https://shiatsu-web.com

    Best view i have ever seen !


    June 17, 2021 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dine in restaurants near me


    June 17, 2021 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. escorts near me


    June 17, 2021 at 21:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. veterinary near me


    June 17, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. boba tea near me

    Can I simply just say what a relief to discover a person that really understands what they are discussing on the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must look at this and understand this side of your story. It's surprising you're not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.


    June 17, 2021 at 21:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. kia dealership near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. park near me


    June 17, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. boost mobile near me

    Iím impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a blog thatís equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this in my search for something concerning this.


    June 18, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. used appliances near me

    There's certainly a lot to learn about this subject. I really like all of the points you have made.


    June 18, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. mexican near me

    An outstanding share! I've just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me lunch due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your website.


    June 18, 2021 at 03:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. sandwiches near me


    June 18, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. massages near me

    bookmarked!!, I love your blog!


    June 18, 2021 at 06:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. mediterranean food near me


    June 18, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. steakhouse near me


    June 18, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Repair

    Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post plus the rest of the website is really good.


    June 18, 2021 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Around Me


    June 18, 2021 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Camper Repair Places Near Me

    This website certainly has all the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.


    June 18, 2021 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. foundation waterproofing companies near me

    Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    June 18, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. bathroom remodel companies near me


    June 18, 2021 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Sprinter Repair Orange County


    June 18, 2021 at 15:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Repair Near Me Now

    I really like it when folks come together and share opinions. Great website, stick with it!


    June 18, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Seal Beach

    You made some really good points there. I looked on the internet to find out more about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.


    June 18, 2021 at 17:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. meijer near me


    June 18, 2021 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair California


    June 18, 2021 at 18:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. RV Repair Shops Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Repair Shop Near My Location


    June 18, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Repair Shop Near Me


    June 18, 2021 at 22:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. eye doctor near me

    Good info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!


    June 19, 2021 at 00:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. RV Repair Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. RV Repair Huntington Beach


    June 19, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    Excellent article. I'm going through many of these issues as well..


    June 19, 2021 at 01:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Camper Repairs Near Me


    June 19, 2021 at 01:55 | 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

Leave a Reply to Gerardo Traina


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.