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  1. 1
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    MarkAU

    This site is also helpful in understanding and beating nicotine addiction: http://whyquit.com/joel/

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  2. 2
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    Cajela

    This is the kind of silly scare tactic that makes people give up on listening to the health experts. There’s no safe level of driving, either – or breathing, for that matter. Nothing in life is 100% safe.

    You won’t persuade me that it’s not better to be a monthly 2-cigarette smoker than a daily 2-pack smoker.

    Well, not without a LOT better references than this article which seems to alternate between the bleeding obvious and the highly questionable. Hello, length of time you have smoked is pretty damn strongly correlated to your total cumulative exposure, so obviously it’s correlated with cancer risk. And really? There have been studies on people smoking and drinking literally *at the same time*? As compared to just the usual epidemiological studies comparing smokers, drinkers, and people who do neither or both? As the kids say nowadays: [[citation needed]].

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  3. 3
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    Shooba

    @Cajela,

    Yes, there have been plenty of non-epidemiological studies showing the synergistic impact of smoking at the same time as drinking. A handy indicator is the level of carcinogenic acetaldehyde in the saliva while you do each of these things independently, not at all, or combined:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15239123
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17590988

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  4. 4
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    Julie

    Some people quit over a long-drawn out process like having 1 or 2 now and then. I think its great to recognise its still harmful, but suggest sipping on soda water, nibblling on pepitas when you are triggered to want to light up.
    I found learning how to deal with anxiety helpful, because the social adolescent anxieties are what makes most of join the pack, so self-esteem boosting can help you succeed.
    The only problem I see is those smokers who been also having joints for 30 yrs find it tough because they don’t want to give up the weed. The Minister ought to work on legalising and taxing that for the baby boomers health costs and the generation after!

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  5. 5
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    Cajela

    Yay, citations provided! Thanks, Shooba.

    From those abstracts we can get a proxy measure, the concentration of acetaldehyde in saliva. While this is not an actual epidemiological measure of cancer diagnoses in the relevant population, it’s better than nothing. The increases in the presence of the carcinogen are given as 3.5 to 10-fold over base-line. The “risk increased by 35 times” claim remains unsubstantiated. We can’t even say it’s a 3.5 to 10-fold risk increase, as other factors need to be taken into account. (Oral hygiene, vitamin deficiencies and genetics are known additional factors.)

    Julie’s point is directly relevant to the other main thing that seems wrong with this piece. If it’s true (as seems highly likely) that “some people quit over a long-drawn out process like having 1 or 2 now and then”, then harping on the dangers of the 1 or 2 now and then is really demotivating. All that effort to cut down, and it’s still not good enough! Why bother cutting down at all, then?

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  6. 6
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    jesse

    Yeah the whole “there is no safe level of smoking” line always struck me as unhelpful. Degree of tobacco exposure is closely correlated to risk of disease; doctors use pack-years as a method of risk assessment so clearly less is better than more and yet this information is glossed over by the cancer council.

    It’s not a question of ‘safe’ vs ‘not safe’, it’s a sliding scale of safety. Heavy smoker? High risk. Occasional/social smoker? Moderate risk. Non-smoker but exposed to second-hand smoke every weekend? Low risk. Non-smoker and you live on an island by yourself? Extremely low risk.

    Having said that this is being shown in the new(ish) ads I’ve been seeing – “every cigarette you don’t smoke is doing you good” – which I’m interpreting as promoting incremental steps, which is certainly what I did when I quit.

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