No, Sitting Isn’t as Bad as Smoking a Cigarette

Thanks to social media, popular headlines can make headway across the globe in a matter of hours, like ones claiming that sitting is as bad as smoking.
But experts point out that taking a seat is still not as bad as inhaling smoke filled with harmful chemicals into your lungs.
Although it’s a catchy headline, the actual science shows that while sitting isn’t the best for you, it’s not nearly as bad as smoking.
In a recent study, researchers from around the world found that sitting may not be as bad as the media makes it out to be.
The American Journal of Public Health study states that adults typically spend nine hours per day sitting. This is largely due to many jobs becoming more dependent on computers.
According to the study, those who sit less than four hours per day have fewer adverse health effects compared to those who sit for more than eight hours per day.
Despite this, the adverse effects of sitting aren’t equal to those involved with smoking.
This falsified idea has “been propagated in a number of different circles, including the scientific community and the media,” said Matthew Buman, PhD, Arizona State University College of Health Solutions associate professor and a study author.Buman believes this headline was likely meant to be helpful and “to try to make people aware that sitting can be harmful for you. But some have taken it and sensationalized it to equate those two, as if sitting is just as bad for you as smoking is. Which doesn’t really add up.”What sitting does to your healthSitting too much does increase your risk for poor health outcomes, like cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and even depression. The strongest risk of sitting too much is diabetes — it doubles the risk.Comparatively, smoking has long been understood to be hazardous to health. In the 21st century alone, smoking will cause over 1 billion deaths. In 2012, it led to an annual global health cost of $467 billion in cigarette-related illnesses.According to the new study, estimates suggest that the cost of physical inactivity (not getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week) was $53.8 billion in 2013 — about 12 percent of the health-related costs of smoking.
In comparison to sitting, smoking has more devastating health outcomes. The relative risk of death from all causes in current smokers compared to those who don’t smoke is 2.80 in men and 2.76 in women. That equates to 1,554 excess deaths per 100,000 people per year for men and 1,099 excess deaths per 100,000 people in women.