Mythbuster: Why sitting is not the new smoking

Comparing the two trivialises the very real risks of smoking, say researchers

Sitting is not the new smoking, despite what you may have read in many high-profile and respected news outlets and journals, say global researchers.

Headlines comparing the two, some even suggesting that sitting is the more dangerous habit, started appearing a decade ago and increased by an estimated 12-fold between 2010 and 2016.

However, a careful sift through the research reveals there is no comparison between the perils of sitting and the health risks of smoking, argue international researchers, including University of SA epidemiologist Dr Terry Boyle, in a commentary in the American Journal of Public Health.

“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.

Overall, they found a risk of premature death from any cause skyrockets to 180% in