What is Social Smoking?
What is social smoking?
Social smoking is a pattern of tobacco use based on the context of use (for example, smoking more in social settings like pubs, bars, nightclubs, and sporting or music events than whenalone). These social situations act as social cues or triggers to tobacco use.
How many social smokers become regular smokers, how many quit and how many continue to smoke occasionally is not yet clear. What is clear is that social smoking is a distinct pattern of tobacco use common among young adults that may lead to addiction.
Tobacco companies have targeted young adults in social settings as part of their marketing strategy. They view young adulthood as a key transitional time and have identified several stages in the addiction process from initiation to becoming a "confirmed" smoker that extend through young adulthood.
Who are social smokers?
People who smoke mainly or only in social settings, and in the presence of others (particularly other smokers), often call themselves "Social Smokers." Social smokers tend to drink more alcohol than non-smokers and they tend to smoke more when they are in social situations than when they are alone.
They may not consider themselves "smokers" or regular tobacco users and do not appear to have developed an addiction to nicotine. They tend to be confident in their ability to quit. Like other smokers, social smokers are much more likely than those who have never smoked to have relatives or friends who smoke.
A greater proportion of young adults are starting to smoke after the age of 18 than in the past and social smoking may be one of the reasons.
What are the health risks of Social Smoking?
Researchers say there is no safe level of tobacco consumption because of the cancer-causing properties of tobacco. The social smoker, like anyone who smokes, is vulnerable to the harmful health consequences of using tobacco. These include numerous cancers, respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death.
Several recent studies have shown that using even small amounts of tobacco (in some cases as low as one to four cigarettes per day) significantly increases the risk of harmful health effects including heart disease, cancer and premature death.
As well, social smokers are typically in social settings with other smokers and are likely to be more frequently exposed to second-hand smoke. This makes social smokers even more vulnerable to the damaging health effects of second-hand smoke, including lung cancer, heart disease, nasal sinus cancer, middle ear disease, and a variety of respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.
The British Lung Foundation has warned that the pattern of social smoking (smoking a lot in a short time) may be more damaging to a smoker's heart and lungs than smoking the same amount over the course of a day. In addition, the risk of dying from lung cancer increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, but how long youÕve smoked is the strongest risk.
Are social smokers addicted?
Many long-term smokers start out as social or occasional smokers and find they are not able to limit their smoking or quit when they want. Recent research suggests social or occasional smoking is not risk free and that occasional smokers can actually be addicted. A University of Wisconsin (2004) study published in the American Psychological Association journal Health Psychology found that almost 90 percent of college students who were daily smokers and 50 percent of occasional smokers were still smoking four years later. The results dispel the mistaken belief that most young adults who smoke can easily give up tobacco use within a few years.
Information taken from http://www.aadac.com/documents/truth_about