CHICAGO (CBS) – We all know smoking is bad.

But a new study says one whiff is enough to do serious damage, too, CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

The surgeon general’s 30th annual report on smoking and health says tobacco smoke begins poisoning immediately, as more than 7,000 chemicals in each puff rapidly spread through the body to cause damage to nearly every organ.

“Social smoking essentially as bad as smoking cigarettes,” says Dr. Mladen Vidovich, a cardiologist at UIC and Jesse Brown VA medical centers.

Not only can smoking one cigarette trigger a heart attack, but so can second hand smoke.

“As we age, we all get plaque in our heart arteries,” Vidovich said. “What happens is, one puff of smoking or secondary smoking, somewhere in a bar or restaurant, can cause this plaque to break up and cause a heart attack.”

Some smokers were skeptical of the report.

“Obviously, they’re wrong because everybody smokes a cigarette more than once a day. So, you don’t see people dropping dead from a heart attack every day,” Jennifer Pelofsky told Le Mignot. 

But there is some good news from the report, too: It’s never too late to quit.

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin says kicking the habit lets the body start healing immediately. She adds “It’s never too late to quit — but the sooner you quit, the better.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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