Often considered as a hobby rather than a habit, cigar has slowly gained more popularity than the cigarette. Tagged as classy and elegant, cigar has emerged as the symbol of a high profile lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013, an estimated 12.4 million people in the United States aged 12 years or older (or 5.2 percent) were current cigar smokers. The CDC further observed that cigar use was higher among the youth, especially those who were in the habit of consuming other tobacco products or drugs.
Additionally, the marketing gimmicks of introducing flavors in cigars or selling them as a single stick apart from the whole pack has further contributed to a surge in its use. As per the CDC statistics, “In 2014, among middle and high school students who used cigars in the past 30 days, 63.5 percent reported using a flavored cigar during that time.”
Apart from being a fashion statement, many people switch to cigar presuming it to be safer than cigarettes. However, the fact is that “a cigar emits up to 90 times a cigarette’s level of nitrosamines, which are potent cancer-causing compounds,” revealed the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Apart from causing cancer, cigar smoking is also associated with gum disease and tooth loss.
Health hazards of cigar smoking
Unlike cigarettes that are made by rolling tobacco in paper, cigar is made by rolling aged tobacco in tobacco leaf. Owing to the size, a premium cigar tends to contain as much tobacco as a whole pack of cigarettes. Further, a tobacco leaf has poor porous quality, therefore, when lit, the tobacco in a cigar tends to burn slowly. This releases a stew of compounds that are said to be more harmful that cigarette fumes.
Effects of cigar smoking
Many people who smoke cigars, avoid inhaling the smoke. It is rather a matter of convenience than a rule or a law since cigar smoke tends to be hotter and thicker.
However, there are many people, especially, ex-cigarette smokers, who end up inhaling the smoke as it comes naturally to them. Inhaling cigar smoke increases the risk of developing lung cancer. Since a cigar contains more nicotine than a cigarette, inhaling its smoke can cause nicotine poisoning as well. According to a study conducted in 2014, regular cigar smoking causes 9,000 premature deaths annually in the U.S.
Further, the risk of developing lung cancer is lower for people who smoke one to two cigars per day as compared to those who smoke four to five cigars per day.
Cigar smoking causes lung cancer
Smoking tobacco in any form carries the risk of lung cancer. Through smoking, the nicotine particles tend to enter the lungs via the blood stream which can damage the DNA leading to cancer. Since lungs are involved in the inhalation of smoke, therefore, they are also the most affected organ.
In case of the cigar, since the smoke released is dense therefore it contains more particles of nicotine than a cigarette. Additionally, cigar also releases compounds like tar, carbon monoxide and ammonia, which adversely impact one’s health.
In order to raise awareness about the risk of lung cancer due to smoking tobacco and other lung related issues, October is observed as the National Healthy Lung Month. The initiative intends to create awareness about the rise and cause of lung cancer and also about other lung related diseases.
Quit smoking and lead a healthy life
Cigar smoking is not perceived as an addiction, as it is mostly consumed to get a taste and feel of tobacco. However, since cigar has a relatively high amount of nicotine, it can cause addiction. Hence, people speak of feeling distressed and relaxed when smoking cigars. Notably, the harmful effects of cigar smoking are largely similar to that of cigarette smoking.
If you or your loved one is seeking detox treatment to quit smoking, you may get in touch with the California Detox Helpline to know about the best rapid detox centers in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online to gain information on various detox and rehab centers in California. Our representatives can connect you to one of the best detox centers in California.
Read the other articles of the series based on the “National Healthy Lung Month”: