Most of us believe that a bad habit, when performed relatively infrequently, isn’t actually so bad.
If it’s a daily habit, it’s unhealthy, but if it’s only a bit of fun now and then, it’s harmless, right?
Wrong! At least for one dangerous habit, according to a study in the latest edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Doing this infrequently, raises your blood pressure and cholesterol just as much as doing it daily – and it’s one of the most direct causes of stroke and heart attack.
Scientists collected data from 39,555 participants in Ohio State University’s Million Hearts educational program. They were followed between 2012 and 2016.
At the beginning, the participants reported their smoking status as either non-smoker, current smoker, or social smoker. They then had their blood pressure and cholesterol tested.
17% of them reported being current smokers, while just over 10 percent labeled themselves social smokers.
Interestingly, once factors like obesity and other demographics were excluded, the scientists found that habitual and social smokers had approximately the same levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
They found 75 percent of both groups had high blood pressure and 54 percent high cholesterol.
This means that social smoking puts you on your way to heart disease even if you only do it infrequently.
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