Sitting is NOT the new smoking, contrary to popular myth

No, sitting is not the new smoking, despite what countless newspaper articles have peddled in recent years.

That’s the consensus from an international team of researchers who have laid to rest misleading claims comparing the health dangers of sitting for long periods with smoking cigarettes.

In the latest issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from Canada, the US and Australia say that while research does suggest excessive sitting (roughly more than eight hours a day) increases the risk of premature death and some chronic diseases by 10-20%, this pales in comparison to the risks associated with smoking.

Smoking increases the risk of premature death from any cause by approximately 180 per cent, the researchers say.

University of South Australia epidemiologist Dr Terry Boyle, one of nine researchers involved in the evaluation, says media stories comparing sitting with smoking increased 12-fold from 2012 to 2016, and some respected academic and clinical institutions have also spread the myth.

“The simple fact is, smoking is one of the greatest public health disasters of the past century. Sitting is not, and you can’t really compare the two,” Dr Boyle says.

“First, the risks of chronic disease and premature death associated with smoking are substantially higher than for sitting. While people who sit a lot have around a 10-20 per cent increased risk of some cancers and cardiovascular disease, smokers have more than double the risk of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease, and a more than 1000 per cent increased risk of lung cancer.

“Second, the economic impact and number of deaths caused by smoking-attributable diseases far outweighs those of sitting. For example, the annual global cost of smoking-attributable diseases was estimated at US$467 billion in 2012 and smoking is expected to cause at least one billion deaths in the 21st century.

“Finally, unlike smoking, sitting is neither an addiction nor a danger to others.

“Equating the risk of sitting with smoking is clearly unwarranted and misleading, and only serves to trivialize the risks associated with smoking,” Dr Boyle says.

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It is estimated how many years after quitting Smoking normal health

Quitting Smoking took more than 15 years to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease have returned to the level of those who never smoked. This is indicated by the results of the preliminary research presented recently in Chicago at the Scientific sessions of the American heart Association (American Heart Association).

Previous studies have shown that the risk of cardiovascular disease in smokers is reduced a few years after they quit Smoking. However, previously it was not possible to trace the history of Smoking participants to note changes in the frequency of Smoking or evidence of relapse of Smoking.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed history of Smoking over a lifetime of about 8700 participants of the Framingham study (Framingham Heart Study), whose early studies have not yet been cardiovascular diseases. The average for the participants in the study were followed for 27 years. At the same time, the researchers compared the risk of cardiovascular disease in smokers, non-smokers and ex-smokers.

As a result, the researchers found that:

  • More than 70% of cases of cardiovascular disease in smokers or former smokers was observed in those who smoked a pack a day for 20 years.
  • Former smokers who quit within the past five years, the risk of developing cardiovascular disease fell by 38% compared with those who continued to smoke.
  • Overall it took 16 years from the date of refusal of Smoking to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease in former smokers returned to the same level as those who never smoked.

These results emphasize that some benefits of quitting can be seen during the first five years, as 38% reduced risk of heart attack and stroke compared with people who continue to smoke. We also found that the risk of cardiovascular disease remains elevated for 16 years after people quit Smoking compared with people who never smoked. The conclusion of the study is that if you smoke, now is a good time to quit, says Meredith Duncan, (Meredith Duncan), author of the study from the Medical center of Vanderbilt University (Vanderbilt University Medical Center) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dmitry Kolesnik