12 cigarettes per day and 16.5 years of smoking—it is only after these astronomical numbers that smokers believe there is a risk of developing cancer.
These days, everybody knows that smoking increases the risks of developing a host of serious illnesses, and Public Health France has just proved yet another study to prove it. The study, which surveyed 4,000 people, demonstrated that virtually everyone knows smoking is bad for then, and that 75% of smokers are afraid of cancer.
The study also shows that these same smokers consistently minimize the dangers of smoking. They think that only after smoking 12 cigarettes per day is there a risk of developing cancer. Only 23% of those surveyed think that the risk begins with even a single cigarette per day.
Multiple risks linked to those who spend years smoking
It has been proven that cancer risks are directly linked to the number of years that people smoke. Even if people only smoke one or two cigarettes a day, the dangers are very real.
Three out of four people surveyed also think that air pollution is just as dangerous as cigarettes. However, pollution is responsible for less than 1% of cancer diagnoses, compared to 29% for tobacco in men and 9% in women. Another myth is that being active can heal the lungs—even if physical activity can help prevent multiple illnesses, it does not counteract the negative effects of tobacco in the lungs.
Finally, the study shows that when it comes to cigarettes, the least informed people are those with the lowest level of education and limited financial means. This may be why so many smokers are skeptical of prevention campaigns and susceptible to outright denial. In any case, the news is quite worrying, because we know that the more people perceive tobacco as dangerous, the more likely they are to find ways of quitting, for example, with e-cigarettes.