Is Being a Social Smoker Safer for You?

If you smoke one cigarette a day, especially when you’re out with friends, you may think it’s a safe habit. However, smoking even a single cigarette still puts you at risk for developing the health conditions associated with smoking, including heart disease, lung cancer, as well as symptoms of depression and anxiety.

In this post, your trusted physicians from Garden State Medical Group shares what you need to know about social smoking:

What Are the Health Risks?

Each time you smoke, the carbon monoxide in the smoke reduces the level of oxygen-rich blood in your body. Smoking one cigarette can cause your body to have temporary oxygen levels equivalent to living at 10,000 feet above sea level.

Smoking can also lead to a more rapid progression of cardiovascular disease. It also worsens the effects of diabetes.

Smoking causes 50 percent of all the deaths in the United States due to lung cancer and about 31 percent of overall cancer deaths. Smokers have a four times greater risk of developing lung cancer compared to people who have never smoked. In addition, smoking can cause other cancers, such as cancers in the lining of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and cervix.

Aside from that, smoking can lead to a greater risk of arrhythmias, a variety of heart conditions that can lead to sudden, unexpected death.

Smoking also increases the risk for multiple sclerosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a group of lung diseases including emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

If you continue to smoke, you may experience various health problems due to the long-term effects of smoking. 

Mental Health Effects

Smoking can lead to anxiety disorders due to the increased heart rate, anxiety attacks, and an increased risk for panic attacks. It can also cause depression, including major depression, and other types, such as postpartum depression, including irritability, sadness, and anxiety. Smoking is one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression, particularly in women who are younger than 30 years old.

The Risk of Nicotine Addiction

Another way smoking can affect your mental health is through nicotine addiction, leading to other addictive behaviors. Nicotine is an addictive substance that can cause physical dependence. This means that if you stop taking nicotine, you may experience many physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • nervousness
  • restlessness
  • depression
  • irritability
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • increased hunger or appetite
  • difficulty sleeping
  • weight gain

Why People Socially Smoke

The reasons why people may smoke socially are varied. Many people may smoke socially because their friends who smoke do so. They may also do so because it is more accepted in certain social situations, such as bars, clubs, social events, parties, or dinners.

Many people think they can control their smoking. When you’re with your friends who smoke, it may seem like a good time to light up, but you might end up smoking more than you would if you were alone. You may think it’s okay to smoke since everyone else around you is smoking too, but you should avoid it.


Just one cigarette can affect your heart rate, increase your blood pressure, and put you at risk of developing the health problems of smoking. So if you don’t want to get addicted to smoking, or experience the adverse effects of smoking, don’t start.

If you are already addicted to nicotine, talk with your primary care doctor about smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine replacement therapy.

Garden State Medical Group can provide you with the expert services of some of the best physicians in North Bergen and Secaucus, New Jersey. Contact us today to set an appointment!

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