A total of 1.3 billion people smoke in the world, and out of these, 80% live in low and middle-income countries. Despite the risks, the number of people taking up smoking is increasing, and so is the number of deaths.
Between 1990 and 2019, the number of smokers increased from 1 billion to 1.3 billion. In the US alone, 1600 youngsters try their first cigarette every day. People continue to take up smoking with the mindset that branded cigarettes are less harmful, but that is not true. All conventional cigarette brands pose the same risk level.
How Many Cigarettes Cause Cancer?
It depends from person to person and their smoking habits. However, there is no “safe” smoking level to address the elephant in the room. Whether puffing one cigarette in a day or one pack, you can become vulnerable to 15 different types of cancers caused by smoking.
However, it is true that if you start smoking at an early age, you will be at a higher risk in the later stages of life. Generally, the incidence of lung cancer begins around 40 years of age and can peak at 70 years.
According to a French survey meant to understand the smoker’s perception of the risk of developing cancer from smoking. 44% of the respondents believed that smoking could only cause cancer if a person consumes more cigarettes than they consume daily.
Another cohort of 20% of respondents said that smoking could cause cancer if someone is smoking for a longer duration than what they are consuming.
These two figures are drawing a pattern. Active smokers believe that the number of cigarettes they puffed daily is safe. But if anyone is consuming more cigarettes than what they are puffing, they are at risk of suffering from cancer.
It’s like, “What I am doing is not risky, but if you go one notch up doing the same thing, you are at risk.”
Anyone smoking one to ten cigarettes per day has the same risk level of developing smoke-related cancers. And the buck does not stop here. Smoking is responsible for several other diseases.
Seven million plus people die from smoking every year. But did you know that 1.2 million non-smokers die from the same smoke only because these people are exposed to second-hand smoke?
So both smokers and non-smokers are at risk from the chemical-laden smoke from cigarettes. There is no definite answer to how many cigarettes cause cancer, and it entirely depends from person to person.
Having said that, it is also true that people who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get cancer than the ones who don’t smoke. Plus, the risk of developing cancer can also increase if a person smokes for a longer duration. So, a person smoking for the last 10 years is at a higher risk of suffering from cancer than someone smoking for the last 5 years.
Types of Cancers Caused by Smoking
One cigarette means you will be inhaling smoke with 7000 different chemicals. This smoke travels all over the body, affecting different organs and parts, making you vulnerable to 15 types of cancers.
Source: Cancer Research
Remember that these cancer risks are present for both smokers and non-smokers who inhale smoke from others. In short, active and passive smoking will put a person at equal risk.
One of the major causes of smoke-induced cancer is tobacco. Due to this, smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, and it is the most common cancer spread across the globe.
If tobacco were not a condiment used to make cigarettes, lung cancer would be a rare disease.
So, What's the Bottom Line?
The question is now how many cigarettes cause cancer because if you are smoking once a day or 20 times a day, you are vulnerable. This vulnerability can further aggravate according to a person’s existing health condition and lifestyle.
Asbestos and radon are known to accelerate the development of cancer. So people working in spaces where asbestos and radon are already present, and if they also smoke, are at a higher risk.
To sum it up, the only way to avoid all the 15 types of smoking-induced cancers is to quit smoking.
16 cancers caused by smoking -
How does smoking cause cancer? -
Smoking too few cigarettes to be at risk? Smokers' perceptions of risk and risk denial, a French survey -
How Long Do You Have to Smoke to Get Lung Cancer? - https://moffitt.org/taking-care-of-your-health/taking-care-of-your-health-story-archive/how-long-do-you-have-to-smoke-to-get-lung-cancer/
Tobacco - Key Facts -
The global burden of tobacco -
Smokers believe 'silver,' 'gold,' and 'slim' cigarettes are less harmful -
Lung cancer statistics -
What Are the Risk Factors for Lung Cancer? -
Lung Cancer Risk Factors -