Can Cigarettes and a Healthy Lifestyle Mix?

no smoking
Smoking has no place in a healthy lifestyle. Credit: Xurble

So, in a bit of celebrity news, I recently learned that Gwyneth Paltrow allows herself one cigarette each week. Gwyneth Paltrow, of detox diets. Gwyneth Paltrow, who got serious about cleaning up her health after losing her dad to cancer. Gwyneth Paltrow of Tracy Anderson-following, picture-of-health fame.

She says her cigarette is her guilty pleasure. That it’s what “makes life interesting, finding the balance between cigarettes and tofu.”

We say, cigarettes and health don’t mix! This seriously boggles my mind. How is a woman who is unable to eat bell peppers, eggplant or corn—for what she calls health reasons—and avoids major food groups…and makes her kids avoid those food groups—how is she able to be okay with smoking even one cigarette a week?

As I said…mind, boggled.

While I do believe you can have, say, a Big Mac on occasion as long as the rest of your diet is healthy and balanced, I don’t believe cigarettes have any place in a healthy lifestyle. Especially for someone people look to for healthy living advice. I’ve been a smoker. As as a former smoker, I can’t fathom how she keeps it to one a week. Cigarettes are addictive; it’s really hard to keep from lighting up. And when you’re not smoking regularly, smoking a cigarette makes you feel extremely yucky. Wouldn’t she feel pretty yucky smoking one a week?

I’ve never really been one to subscribe to celebrity advice on diet or exercise, but if I ever hear GP spouting how awesome she feels on her gluten-free, eggplant-free diet, I’ll be sure to take it with a massive boulder of salt.

Do you think cigarettes in moderation can be part of a healthy lifestyle? —Erin


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  1. I too was shocked when I heard about that! Honestly, if she thinks that she smoke-even just one cigarette per week-and still be healthy, it makes me question everything else that she regards as healthy. She certainly is not a nutritionist or doctor, but a lot of people look up to her. I sure hope none of her fans decide that it’s okay to smoke occasionally because “Gwyn does it and she’s so healthy!” 🙁

  2. I personally think she smokes one cigarette a week because GP was told by someone that it helps to curb cravings/ helps to keep your weight down. I mean honestly, just look at what Jennifer Aniston did ; the Baby Food Diet. Or think about Madonna ; her obsessive need to portray herself to be youthful.

  3. OMG! I hadn’t heard this….why, oh why would you “allow” yourself 1 cigarette??!!! I can (almost) understand people who try to quit and can’t…but after watching a woman I’ve admired so much die from lung cancer due to her smoking when she was younger, it just hurts me to no end to watch anyone SMOKE!!!! And you’re right, I hope those people that look up to her do not believe this can be a “healthy balance”!!

  4. I’m pretty violently non-smoking, but if she can actually limit it to 1 cigarette a week I don’t think it’s a huge deal. I know that alcohol is straight up pretty bad for me (though maybe not on the level of smoking), but I still indulge in a few drinks a week. Plus, I think there are valid reasons for some individuals to limit nightshades. I’ve mostly avoided the recent gossip about Paltrow’s diet, and I’m not saying that it is automatically healthy, but I don’t think very limited smoking totally negates her other attempts at being healthy. I probably take more issue with her promotion of Tracy Anderson’s methods! Anyway, just my two cents. 🙂

  5. Really can’t understand her advice either. I thought Gwyneth had more to her than that, but no in my opinion you can’t mix cigarettes and being healthy. They are opposites!

  6. One cigarette per week? If that’s really true you have to admire her willpower. As someone who has never smoked I don’t see any health issue at that level compared to carcinogens in the air, food additives, smoke from BBQs, etc. But I agree it doesn’t set a great example!

  7. As an ex-smoker even one cigarette is not healthy – its also means its still an addiction. TBH I would take whatever advise Gwyneth and most celebs give with a pinch of salt.

  8. I hate to say I’m shocked to hear cigarettes..even one a week is her guilty pleasure. To each his own I guess. I’m a person bothered by the cigarette smoke…especially when I’m working out outdors. Sure I experimented with smoking in college but don’t think it ever went more than a few cigarettes. It wasn’t for me. Celebs are their own breed of excentric.

  9. I think it’s probably an individual choice. Not exercising and doing anything might be worse than taking care of your body and having one smoke a week.

  10. Oh wow, I had no idea Gwyneth was a smoker! I definitely agree with you Erin – it really makes no sense. How can a cigarette be described as a “treat”? It’s not like it’s chocolate, something tasty that is fine in small doses. Every puff is toxic! Hmmm I’m definitely dubious now about her credibility with Goop. The fact that she thinks 1 cheeky cigarette a week is fine for her health is baffling… not sure if I can take her stuff seriously now!

  11. First of all, who takes health advice for a celebrity. What medical school did she go to? All of the evidence is in. Cigarette smoking is bad for your health. The smoke from even one cigarette is harmful. That being said, we all have the right to smoke if we want to. I guess my issue isn’t that Gweneth smokes and still claims a healthy lifestyle, it’s just because she is a celebrity, it doesn’t make her an authority on the subject.

  12. well, her advice is definitely controversial, but there are also some who advocate an indulgence or addiction day every week – for example a day every week where you can pretty much eat or drink anything regardless of what diet regime you subscribe to, which makes it less likely for you to ‘cheat’ during the rest of the week. I’ve never been a smoker, so I’m not sure how easily this applies to smoking.

  13. It’s easy to stop smoking. All you needis an iron will, supportive friends – and a packet of wet matches.

  14. Mmmmmm….this is a tough one. I do smoke most days, Golden Virginia rollies but also consider myself as having a pretty healthy lifestyle when it comes to food & exercise.
    I do think that whatever you do in terms of vices (smoking, drinking etc)enjoy them….don’t beat yourself up about them if you are going to do them….BUT don’t take the mick….you do have to be ‘sensible’, your body can deal with a lot but don’t push it to it’s limits & expect nothing to happen.

  15. This is an interesting post…. My sister smokes but also portrays herself as a healthy person, exercising daily, vegan, etc. In reality her lifestyle is not as healthy as she likes to pretend. I also don’t know how anyone can say they’re healthy while they smoke and have lost many relatives to cancer, so this is a bit of a sore spot for me.

  16. In a perfect world, no one would smoke a cigarette, ever. Back here on planet earth, after the reality of addition grows years on end, tobacco users are but one of many types of people with harmful habits. I am not holding my breath for perfection.

  17. To me, it doesn’t matter whether you smoke dozens of cigarettes in day or in a whole year. If you had to be caught by cancer, you will. No power then can stop this coming. What justification can you give me in reply of those hundreds of people smoking cigarettes for more than 50 years and are still healthy.

  18. come on guys, watch some secrets of longevity videos! there are loads of benefits to tobacco (rollies) … as opposed to normal ‘cancer sticks’ in fact they have been associated with HELPING asthma, Alzheimers… and actually quite a few lung related problems. Don’t believe all you read just because a ‘medical professional’ told you so! Smoking tobacco has been around for thousands of years. p.s did you know saturated fats are weyyyy better for you than unsaturated fats. salt is good for you in moderation (especially if you get a lot of cramp) so one cig a week is probs just what the doctor ordered…only if its a golden oldy tho gwyn. All things in moderation! There are two sides to every ‘health’ claim, so yeh think about the car fumes you breathe in every day or the carcinogens on your toast OR the ‘dangerous’ metals that your iceberg lettuce soaks up from the soil.. etc etc it’s swings and roundabouts! I don’t think anyone she be told they’re unhealthy if they are making an effort in most ways and having what they see as a treat every now and again…you might get hit by a bus tomorrow (touch wood you don’t) but sometimes you gotta do a bit of what you like!

  19. Gwen smokes one per week because she is still at least psychologically addicted, but won’t admit it publically.
    By smoking one per week she doesn’t let her lungs recover and detox properly from years of smoking which increases the chances of a smoking related disease later. To those who say look at the smokers who are “still healthy” that’s like saying look at those who rob banks and don’t get caught or drink and drive and don’t get caught or those who have unprotected sex but don’t get an STD.. Also to those who start talking about car fumes, Additives in food, lets add cigarettes to the equasion then shall we ? In reality it will be harder for this generation to get away with it because of the amount of pollution now, radiation from mobiles/computers, processed foods, people cooking less often, microwaved food, stressful enfvironment, more chemicals and Additives in cigarettes etc