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. hotels near me

    Very nice write-up. I definitely love this site. Continue the good work!


    May 5, 2021 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. priligy

    generic priligy buy priligy online

    May 5, 2021 at 20:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kinkos near me

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read through, but I truly believed you would have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.


    May 5, 2021 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. body shop body shop

    Excellent post. I am experiencing a few of these issues as well..


    May 5, 2021 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Driver Seats Riverside

    I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you book marked to look at new stuff you post…


    May 6, 2021 at 00:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. chevy camper van conversion


    May 6, 2021 at 02:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. online meditation coach


    May 6, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. stopping plaquenil

    plaquenil medicine https://hydroplaquenil.com/# lupus medication plaquenil

    May 6, 2021 at 05:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Dashboard Los Angeles

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


    May 6, 2021 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. banks near me


    May 6, 2021 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. tattoo shop near me

    Good web site you have here.. It’s difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!


    May 6, 2021 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Forklift Rental Orange County


    May 6, 2021 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. fireworks near me

    I’m amazed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I came across this in my search for something concerning this.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. hardware store near me

    I'm very pleased to uncover this website. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly wonderful read!! I definitely loved every part of it and I have you saved to fav to see new stuff in your web site.


    May 6, 2021 at 17:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. rv alignment near me

    I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I certainly enjoyed every little bit of it. I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new things you post…


    May 6, 2021 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Forklifts Near Me


    May 6, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Organic Wine Companies


    May 6, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Forklift Repair Near Me

    Hello! I simply want to offer you a big thumbs up for the excellent information you have here on this post. I will be returning to your site for more soon.


    May 6, 2021 at 18:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Vegetable Beer


    May 6, 2021 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Forklift Extensions California


    May 6, 2021 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. panera near me

    You've made some good points there. I checked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 7, 2021 at 04:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. funeral homes near me


    May 7, 2021 at 04:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. tv repair in temecula


    May 7, 2021 at 06:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. repair near me

    After I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is a means you can remove me from that service? Many thanks!


    May 7, 2021 at 07:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Forklift Service Shop Orange County

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be helpful to read articles from other writers and use a little something from other websites.


    May 7, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Brewery Company


    May 7, 2021 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Forklift Extensions Los Angeles

    This is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read post!


    May 7, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Barley Wine Beer


    May 7, 2021 at 09:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Forklift Rental Los Angeles

    Right here is the perfect website for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!


    May 7, 2021 at 13:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. campers for sale near me


    May 7, 2021 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. kayaking near me


    May 7, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Forklift Cylinders California

    Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 7, 2021 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. chlorochin

    what is chloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloroquine amazon

    May 7, 2021 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. custom rv paint


    May 7, 2021 at 20:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. motorhome rentals orange county


    May 7, 2021 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Video Marketing Maker


    May 7, 2021 at 23:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Social Media Marketing Company Near Me

    Can I simply say what a comfort to discover somebody that actually knows what they're discussing on the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you're not more popular since you definitely have the gift.


    May 7, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. orange cz


    May 7, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. rv body repair near me

    Saved as a favorite, I like your blog!


    May 8, 2021 at 00:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Google Marketing Business


    May 8, 2021 at 02:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Video Marketing Companies

    Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It's the little changes which will make the greatest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!


    May 8, 2021 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Digital Marketing Jobs

    This is the perfect website for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!


    May 8, 2021 at 02:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Internet Marketing Tustin


    May 8, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Content Marketing Consultant


    May 8, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Digital Marketing Associations

    Very nice blog post. I absolutely appreciate this site. Keep writing!


    May 8, 2021 at 08:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Local Marketing Agencies


    May 8, 2021 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Social Media Marketing Businesses Near Me

    Very nice write-up. I definitely love this website. Stick with it!


    May 8, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Local Marketing Agency Costa Mesa

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't fail me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but I really believed you would probably have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    May 8, 2021 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Content Marketing Association


    May 8, 2021 at 13:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. furniture repair orange county


    May 8, 2021 at 14:32 | 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.