'Non-identifying smokers' at same risk as smokers

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'Non-Identifying Smokers' At Same Risk As Smokers

Washington: Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine said that there is a surprisingly large number of people who say they use cigarettes, but don't consider themselves to be "smokers."
Wael K. Al-Delaimy, MD, PhD, professor and chief of the Division of Global Health in the UC San Diego Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, said the phenomenon has both individual and social ramifications. For individuals, the behavior puts them at many of the same health risks as identified smokers.

More broadly, non-identification of "non-identifying smokers" or NIS may be negatively impacting efforts to reduce tobacco consumption by overlooking a significant segment of the affected population, the researchers said.
This is especially true at the clinical setting where physicians might ask patients if they smoke and patient fail to identify themselves as smokers.
In their cross-sectional analysis of the 2011 California Longitudinal Smokers Survey, Al-Delaimy and colleagues defined NIS as persons who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime, reported smoking at least one day in the past 30 days or who said they smoked at least "some days."
In all cases, when asked if they considered themselves to be a smoker, the respondents replied "No."
The researchers believe NIS can generally be divided into two groups with distinct rationalizations for asserting their non-smoker status: According to previous studies, the first group consists of young adults who primarily smoke (and drink) socially and who believe they are not addicted to nicotine.
And, for the first time, NIS includes a second group of adults over the age of 45 who were formerly regular smokers and had most likely failed repeated attempts to completely quit.
These people, said Al-Delaimy, might seek to avoid the label of "smoker."


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