Cigar Smoking Health Risks Similar to Cigarettes: Study

Federal health researchers warn that cigars are no safer than cigarettes, indicating that they carry some of the same health risks.

Cigar smoking is linked to an increased risk of several potentially fatal cancers, as well as heart disease and an increased risk of aneurysm, according to the findings of a study published on April 24 in the medical journal BMC Public Health.

The study was conducted by researchers from the FDA’s Office of Science’s Center for Tobacco Products, however does not represent an agency position or document. The authors said they conducted the study to help inform potential regulatory approaches.

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Researchers looked at data from 22 studies and found that primary cigar smoking, which means those who exclusively smoked cigars with no history of cigarette or pipe smoking, were at an increased risk of all cause mortality, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, laryngeal cancer, lung cancer, coronary heart disease, and aortic aneurysm. The study found dose-specific responses, meaning the more often and heavily someone smoked cigars, the greater their risk of health problems.

Cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks of cigarette smoking, with researchers finding that the mortality risk varied by level of exposure and cigars smoked per day.

While many cigar smokers claim not to inhale, and researchers found differences in risks based on inhalation levels, they also found that even when there was no inhalation of cigar smoke, the smokers were at an increased risk of death.

Researchers noted that their findings were particularly important given the rise in popularity of cigar smoking in recent years.

“Given the changes in cigar use patterns in the US and elsewhere since the 1960s, this review highlights the critical need for updated estimates of mortality risks due to cigar smoking,” the researchers noted. “Additional studies that include women, non-whites, and younger adults in contemporary cohorts from the 1990s or later would better reflect current trends in cigar use.”


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