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Smoking Cessation Health Center

Effects of Smoking Pipes and Cigars

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Health Effects of Smoking Pipes and Cigars continued...

Lung disease . Cigar and pipe smoking double the risk for the airway damage that leads to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Smoking can also worsen existing asthma.

Heart disease . Smoking cigars or pipes increases the likelihood of having heart disease or a stroke. Cigars boost the risk of early death from coronary heart disease by 30%.

Teeth problems. Smoking pipes or cigars wreaks havoc on your mouth, contributing to gum disease, stained teeth, bad breath, and tooth loss. One study showed that pipe and cigar smokers had an average of four missing teeth.

Erectile dysfunction . Smokers are twice as likely to have erectile dysfunction as nonsmokers.

Cigars and pipes aren't just dangerous to the people who smoke them. They also give off secondhand smoke filled with toxic chemicals like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Because a cigar wrapper (which is made from a tobacco leaf) is less porous than a cigarette wrapper, it doesn't burn as thoroughly as a cigarette wrapper. This increases the concentration of cancer-causing substances like ammonia, tar, and carbon monoxide released into the air.

Despite their sweet aroma, water pipes are also dangerous to your health. During a typical hookah smoking session, you'll inhale 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke that you'd get from a cigarette. Water pipes deliver at least as much nicotine and toxins as cigarettes, and put users at similar risk for cancer and other smoking-related diseases.

The same advice is true for pipe and cigar smokers as for cigarette smokers: quit. If you can't kick the habit on your own, get help from your doctor, another health professional, or a smoking cessation service (1-800-QUIT-NOW). Also make sure to get regular checkups -- including mouth exams to look for signs of oral cancer -- and talk to your doctor about getting screened for lung cancer.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on October 04, 2014
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