Cigars

Recent increased publicity of cigar use by celebrities, the introduction of "cigar bars" and the sub-culture of cigar paraphernalia such as humidors and clippers have combined to create a glamorous aura around a deadly product.

The American Lung Association, long a crusader in the fight against lung disease and a staunch supporter of tobacco control, feels it is important to respond to common myths related to cigar use with facts:

Lungs
  • While lung cancer risk is lower for cigar smokers than cigarette smokers, the risk of lung cancer increases with more frequent cigar smoking and depth of inhalation.
  • Studies show that people who smoke at least three cigars a day and report moderate inhalation, experience lung cancer death at about two-thirds the rate of people who smoke one pack of cigarettes a day.
  • People who smoke at least three cigars a day are two to three times more likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers.
  • Cigar smokers also have higher death rates from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Heart Disease and Cancer
  • Cigar smokers also have higher death rates from heart disease, are four to ten times more likely to contract esophageal cancers, eight times more likely to contract oral cancer and ten times more likely to contract laryngeal cancers than nonsmokers.
  • The common practice of holding an unlit cigar in the mouth may also enable nicotine absorption.
  • Nicotine
  • Cigar smokers may spend up to an hour smoking a single large cigar that can contain as much tobacco as a pack of cigarettes. Thus, smoking even a few fat cigars could produce the same level of nicotine exposure as that experienced by a pack-a-day cigarette smoker.
  • The common practice of holding an unlit cigar in the mouth may also enable nicotine absorption.
  • Secondhand Smoke
  • Cigars are a major source of secondhand smoke, which contains over 4,000 chemicals - 200 are poisons and 63 cause cancer.
  • Some Additional Facts
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, cigar consumption hit an estimated 3.8 billion in 2001.
  • After seeing a dramatic increase in teen cigar smoking throughout the 80's and early 90's, cigar smoking among teens has decreased 30 percent since 1997.
  • In 2001, 15.2 percent of US high school students reported having smoked a cigar in the previous month. Male students (22.1 percent) were more likely than female students (8.5 percent) to smoke cigars.
  • In June of 2000, the Federal Trade Commission and seven of the USA's largest cigar makers made a deal to require warnings on cigar packages and in advertisements.
  • Source: American Lung Association, 2002