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Are cigars safer than cigarettes?

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Cigar smokers often wave off worries that smoking is bad for their health. They claim their habit is harmless and perpetuate the common misperception that cigars are somehow safer than cigarettes. Yet research shows cigasmoking still increases your risk for cancer more than not smokers and puts you more at risk for oral cancer.

A single large cigar can contain more than a 1/2 ounce of tobacco -- as much tobacco as an entire pack of cigarettes. One cigar also contains 100 to 200 milligrams of nicotine, while a cigarette averages only about 8 milligrams. That extra nicotine may be why smoking just a few cigars a week is enough to trigger nicotine cravings.

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Cigar Smoking."

Jacobs, E.J. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; vol 159: pp 2413-2418.

Health Services at Columbia web site: "Go Ask Alice! Cigar and pipe smoking: Safer than cigarettes?"

Rodriguez, J. Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb. 16, 2010; vol 152: pp 201-210.

Henley, S.J. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 2, 2004; vol 96: pp 853-861.

Albandar, J.M. Journal of  Periodontology, December 2000; vol. 71: pp 1874-1881.

Ohio State University Medical Center.

CDC.

Rakel, Robert E. Textbook of Family Medicine, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 19, 2020

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society web site: "Cigar Smoking."

Jacobs, E.J. Archives of Internal Medicine, 1999; vol 159: pp 2413-2418.

Health Services at Columbia web site: "Go Ask Alice! Cigar and pipe smoking: Safer than cigarettes?"

Rodriguez, J. Annals of Internal Medicine, Feb. 16, 2010; vol 152: pp 201-210.

Henley, S.J. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, June 2, 2004; vol 96: pp 853-861.

Albandar, J.M. Journal of  Periodontology, December 2000; vol. 71: pp 1874-1881.

Ohio State University Medical Center.

CDC.

Rakel, Robert E. Textbook of Family Medicine, Saunders Elsevier, 2007.

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on October 19, 2020

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Why is smoking cigars or pipes dangerous?

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