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How do I know if I’m a light, average, or heavy smoker?

Some NRT products make their recommendations based on what kind of smoker you are. But there is no formal category in any textbook or a group that defines a light, average, or heavy smoker. In general, a light smoker is someone who smokes less than 10 cigarettes per day. Someone who smokes a pack a day or more is a heavy smoker. An average smoker falls in between.
Sometimes a doctor will use the term pack year to describe how long and how much a person has smoked. A pack year is defined as the number of packs of cigarettes a person has smoked every day multiplied by the number of years he or she has smoked. Since 1 pack is 20 cigarettes, a person who has smoked 20 cigarettes a day for a year is considered to have smoked 1 pack year. Someone who has smoked 30 cigarettes a day (1½ packs) for 3 years has smoked 4.5 pack years (1½ x 3), and so on. This is just another way to figure out how high your risk of smoking-related disease might be.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.