Social smokers have the same risk of heart diseases as regular smokers do, says a new research.

The research, which surveyed nearly 40,000 people in the United States, found that more than 10 percent were social smokers while 17 percent were regular smokers.

According to the study published May 3 in the American Journal of Health Promotion, among both groups of smokers, rates of high blood pressure were about 75 percent and rates of high cholesterol were about 54 percent.

Kate Gawlik, the study author and assistant professor of clinical nursing at Ohio State University, stressed that total abstinence from smoking remains the best option.

“Not smoking at all is the best way to go. Even smoking in a social situation is detrimental to your cardiovascular health,” Gawlik said.

“One in 10 people in this study said they sometimes smoke, and many of them are young and already on the path to heart disease.”

Bernadette Melnyk, the study’s senior author and dean of Ohio state’s college of nursing, urged health care providers to try to identify social smokers and offer them advice and tools to quit smoking.

“These are striking findings and they have such significance for clinical practice and for population health,” Melnyk said.

“This has been a fairly neglected part of the population. We know that regular smoking is an addiction, but providers don’t usually ask about social smoking.

“Simple healthy lifestyle behavior changes including appropriate aspirin therapy, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, stress management and, very importantly, smoking cessation can do away with much of the risk of chronic disease.”



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