I am inquiring about the health risks involved in smoking cigars. I am a former cigarette smoker, recently quit and I have taken to smoking the occasional cigar in order to deal with the psychological cravings for the oral addiction of smoking. I don't inhale the smoke. I merely enjoy the taste and the activity a good cigar affords. I was wondering how much I am putting myself at risk by my intermittent indulgence?
Dear Can't Quit,
You are still putting your health at risk with the occasional cigar smoking.
The National Cancer Institute reports that cigars are as deadly as cigarettes (www.cancer.gov). According to the American Cancer Society, although cigar smokers may not inhale, there is still an increased risk of lung cancer, especially for current or ex-cigarette smokers. The death rate from lung cancer of cigar smokers who did not inhale was more than three times that of men who never smoked (www.cancer.org).
In addition, cigars not only give off greater amounts of second-hand smoke than cigarettes, but also have higher concentrations of the same poisons and cancer-causing agents.
To learn more about cigars and cancer, go to www.cancer.org or www.cancer.gov