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Occasional Smoker Running Risks, Too

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ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan 22, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The young occasional smoker may not even consider himself or herself a smoker but it's still risky business, a report says.

They're the people who wouldn't dream of smoking in their houses or cars, but if everyone else in a bar is having a cigarette, they'll likely join in.

A study by four Minnesota organizations found 32,000 young adults, ages 18 to 24, fall into the category of occasional smoker. That's 7 percent of young adults in the state, or 18 percent of all young adult smokers -- far more than expected, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Thursday.

Occasional smokers may not realize it, but many of them face a high risk of becoming steady smokers, the study warned.

What's more, 25 percent of the state's 146,000 young adults who smoke don't consider themselves smokers. Researchers said this is worrisome because they tend not to heed health warnings directed at smokers.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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