A new study from the American Heart Association finds that smoking as few as three cigarettes daily raises the risk of cardiovascular disease by 65 percent, WVNS-TV reported Sept. 1.
Secondhand-smoke exposure raises the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease 20-30 percent, the study also found.
Researchers from Brigham Young University also looked at the risk of illness from other forms of air pollution, WebMD reported Sept. 1.
“It doesn't require extreme exposure to have significant cardiovascular effects. Even passive exposures to ambient air pollution and secondhand smoke contribute to significant increases in cardiovascular mortality,” said study author C. Arden Pope III, Ph.D. “A critical finding of our study is that smoking is unhealthy even at small amounts. Reducing the amount one smokes does some good, but the biggest benefits come from stopping completely.”
Smoking half a pack of cigarettes raised the risk of dying from heart disease by 79 percent, the researchers found, while smoking a pack a day increased the risk 100 percent.
The study appears in the August 2009 issue of the journal Circulation.