How Many Cigarettes a Day Is Heavy Smoking?

Published October 12, 2021
How Many Cigarettes a Day Is Heavy Smoking? - Secret Nature

Stories abound online of people who smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, 50 cigarettes per day, or even as many as five packs of cigarettes per day. These people are definitely heavy smokers, but what about smokers who only light up around 5 cigarettes per day?

If you’re hoping that light smoking will save you from the negative effects of tobacco, don’t. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how many tobacco cigarettes you smoke: letting any of the 7,000 chemicals in cigarettes into your lungs is harmful regardless of how often per day you do it.

How did people get it into their heads that heavy smoking is different from light smoking? What is “social smoking,” and why is it just as bad? Let’s explore these questions and more.

What are the characteristics of a heavy smoker?

There is no official definition of a “heavy smoker.” The CDC and other relevant regulatory bodies do not make a distinction between light and heavy smoking. Any tobacco use is dangerous: that’s the consensus authorities around the world have reached.

According to testimony on the internet, though, any less than five cigarettes per day is considered to be “light smoking” while any more than that verges toward “heavy smoking.” What everyone needs to realize is that tobacco is inherently toxic: There’s no safe way to consume it.

What is the life expectancy of a heavy smoker?

A large 2017 study in the Netherlands indicated that heavy smokers reduce their life expectancy by 13 years. These results haven’t been replicated in any other nation, but with more than 40,000 respondents, it’s a serious study nonetheless.

Even if it isn’t unlucky number 13, smokers certainly reduce the years they’re expected to live somewhat by inhaling tobacco smoke. If you want to live a long, happy life, don’t smoke tobacco cigarettes. It’s that simple.

How many cigarettes does the average smoker smoke per day?

According to the CDC, the average smoker consumed 14 cigarettes per day in 2016. That’s a modest decline from the 17-per-day average among smokers in 2005, but as anyone who has ever smoked even one cigarette knows, 14 smokes per day is still an awful lot.

How many cigarettes per day is considered light smoking?

According to medical authorities, there is no such thing as “light smoking.” Even if you only smoke 2-3 cigarettes per day, your lungs are still damaged nearly as much as when you light up a smoke in excess of 10 times on a daily basis.

What is “social smoking?”

The term “social smoking” is a euphemism for “light smoking” that has risen in popularity as the myth of light smoking has eroded. If you only smoke a few times a day and exclusively in social situations, the idea is that you somehow evade the worst consequences of tobacco use.

Social smoking is wishful thinking at its finest. There is no evidence that smoking 2-5 times per day is considerably less harmful than smoking a full pack within a 24-hour period. When it comes to tobacco, smoking is smoking, and you simply shouldn’t do it.

Is social smoking healthier than heavy smoking?

No, it does not appear that smoking socially is significantly less harmful than smoking more frequently throughout the day. In both cases, you expose your mouth, throat, and lungs to toxic, carcinogenic substances that have no business being in your body under any circumstances.

Is smoking 5 cigarettes per day bad?

Yes, it is bad to smoke any number of tobacco cigarettes in a day, month, year, or ever. Simply put, you should never smoke tobacco cigarettes under any circumstances. There is simply no context in which it is appropriate to allow nicotine, carbon monoxide, ammonia, cyanide, or any of the other nefarious chemicals present in cigarettes inside your body.

How many cigarettes do you need to smoke to be a chain-smoker?

There is no official definition of a “chain-smoker.” Colloquially, though, chain-smoking is the act of consuming cigarettes nonstop the entire time you are awake. The moment your current cigarette goes out, you replace it with another. Clearly, chain-smoking is no way to live life. 

Is it possible for smoking cigarettes to be healthy?

No, smoking tobacco cigarettes will always be unhealthy no matter how many or how few of them you smoke per day. The chemicals present in tobacco cigarettes are simply toxic: no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Sure, if you only consume one cigarette on one occasion in your entire life, the cumulative dangers will be much smaller than if you were to consume 20 cigarettes per day over the course of five decades. Don’t get caught in the false trap of complacency, however, when it comes to tobacco use. Even just a small amount of tobacco is enough to toxify your body to the extent that you become diseased.

Can you smoke hemp cigarettes instead of tobacco?

Many former tobacco smokers have turned to hemp as an alternative. Smoking anything in excess may inherently be harmful, but moderate hemp smoking has been practiced for millennia without any significant negative events being reported.

Hemp cigarettes do not contain nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco, and they’re also devoid of the vast majority of the more than 7,000 chemicals present in tobacco cigarettes. Instead of providing an addicting buzz, hemp cigarettes offer a pleasant sense of relaxation that some people have even relied on during nicotine withdrawals.

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