Smoking just a few cigarettes each day can damage your lungs

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Smoking just a few cigarettes each day is just as bad for your lungs as burning through two packets Columbia University experts tested the lung function of 25,000 volunteers It declined 11.24ml/year more in heavy smokers - 30 a day - than non-smokers The decline was 7.65ml/year among those who had five or fewer cigarettes a day

By Stephen Matthews Health Editor For Mailonline

Published: 23:30 BST, 9 October 2019 | Updated: 23:30 BST, 9 October 2019

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Light smokers damage their lungs just as much as addicts who go through two packets of cigarettes daily, a study has found.

Doctors behind the research at Columbia University now say lighting up a few of times each day is 'much riskier than a lot of people think'.

They tested the lung function of 25,000 volunteers, a mixture of smokers and ex-smokers, as well as adults who had never puffed on a cigarette.

Results showed the lung function of heavy smokers – defined as smoking 30 a day – declined at a rate of 11.24ml per year more than non-smokers.

In comparison, the rate of decline was around 7.65ml per year among the lighter smokers, who had fewer than five cigarettes a day.

Doctors behind the research at Columbia University now say lighting up a few of times each day is 'much riskier than a lot of people think'

Doctors behind the research at Columbia University now say lighting up a few of times each day is 'much riskier than a lot of people think'

Experts calculated that light smokers lose the same lung capacity over one year that their heavy smoking counterparts do in nine months.

Lung function is a measure of the amount of air a person can breathe in and out. It declines naturally with age, starting in the 20s.

Lead author Dr Elizabeth Oelsner said: 'Smoking a few cigarettes a day is much riskier than a lot of people think.

'The difference in loss of lung function between someone who smokes five cigarettes a day versus two packs a day is relatively small.

'Everyone should be strongly encouraged to quit smoking, no matter how many cigarettes per day they are

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