A recent study has shown that the number of young women who consider themselves very light smokers has increased. In addition the study also indicates that average cigarette smoking and the prevalence of smoking in general has decreased.
CDC (the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) defined light smoking as a maximum of five cigarettes a day. The study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease concentrated on sociodemographic and psychological elements.
For the study researchers used data about more than 9.700 women with ages between 18 and 25 who were required to answer questions regarding their smoking habits in 2011. The findings of the study suggest that 41 percent of the women had never smoked, 30 percent of them were active smokers and 28 percent were former smokers. The majority of the active smokers, meaning 60 percent, were very light smokers. Overall 20 percent of all the participants were very light smokers.
The research also indicates that among the very light smokers more than 70 percent of them did not smoke every day. They were also more likely to consider smoking as an important health risk and they were more educated, having a college degree.
The scientists asked the participants 17 questions from the Nicotine Dependence Syndrome Scale which contains five dependence parameters and they also asked questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to see whether the participants showed any signs of depression during their lifetime. In addition they employed a K6 screening device for nonspecific psychological distress in order to check the psychological suffering which the participants had experienced in the past month.
Those participants who had never smoked also had fewer depressive symptoms and psychological burdens compared to very light smokers. They were also less likely to consume alcohol and illicit drugs. Former smokers showed the same results except for the lifetime depression symptoms. Those participants considered light, very light and heavy smokers had the same results regarding illicit drug use, lifetime depression and psychological distress.
Regarding the increasing number of very might smokers among young women the researchers noted:
“Health educators and health care providers working with women in emerging adulthood need to recognize the high prevalence of very light smoking in this population, and screen for any level of tobacco use.”
The lead author of the study Carole Holahan from the University of Texas at Austin, the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education remarked that it is important to make very light smokers realize that even small amount of tobacco are harmful.
Image Source: Daily Mail