Effects of Cigar Smoking

Cigars are tightly rolled bundles of fermented and dried tobacco, intended for smoking. The tobacco used for making cigars is commonly known as cigar tobacco. It is widely grown in various countries throughout the world including Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Cameroon, Nicaragua, the Eastern United States and the Philippines.

Cigar smoking is very popular in the US where there are numerous shops, magazines, clubs and bars supporting the “cigar culture”. Many cigar smokers consider themselves to be connoisseurs, like wine experts. But all this does not mean that cigar smoking does not cause any adverse health effects or that it is safer than cigarette. Cigar was publicized as a safe form of tobacco smoking during the early 90s. However, it is not true as cigar smoking produces more carbon monoxide, one of the major factors causing heart attack. It is also smoked for longer time than cigarette which increases the risks of certain cancers. The tobacco in cigar contains nicotine which can cause various life threatening diseases and even cancer.

 Cigar Smoking and Its Effects

There is a general misconception that smoking cigars is much safer than smoking cigarettes. Cigarette smokers often switch to cigars thinking it is a safer alternative as cigars are not inhaled like cigarettes. While smoking cigarettes, the harmful additives in tobacco are directly absorbed into the bloodstreams, causing damage to the kidney, liver, heart and skin. But this is not the case when smoking cigars as they do not contain many of these additives and are not inhaled through the lungs. Still, there are numerous side effects of cigar smoking.

Nicotine Addiction

Like cigarettes, cigars contain the addictive drug called nicotine that can cause tobacco dependence. One full-size cigar contains the same amount of nicotine as several cigarettes. Inhaling cigar smoke can deliver as much nicotine to the body of the smoker as cigarettes. Large amounts of nicotine are absorbed through the mouth lining even if the smoker does not inhale the smoke from cigars. So, smoking cigars instead of cigarettes does not reduce the risks of getting addicted to nicotine. Nicotine is counted among the highly addictive drugs that can make the user feel depressed and anxious when they stop taking it. Giving up smoking cigars can be extremely difficult once an individual forms the habit of smoking it.

Risks of Cancer

There are over 60 different chemicals, able to cause cancer, found in all types of tobacco smoke. All these chemicals are present in cigar smoke as well. Smoking cigars regularly significantly increases the chances of developing various types of cancers such as cancers of the tongue, lip, mouth, larynx, esophagus and lung. According to the American Cancer Society, cigar smokers are ten times more at risk of dying due to these cancers compared to nonsmokers.

Risks of Cardiovascular Diseases

The chances of developing various cardiovascular diseases increase due to cigar smoking. The nicotine in cigar can cause different coronary artery diseases such as emphysema. It can also cause chronic bronchitis, a condition which makes up COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease when combined with emphysema. Various researches associate cigar smoking with heart attack.

Inhalation of the Tobacco Smoke

It is quite common for cigar smokers to inhale the smoke like in case of cigarettes. There are two possible reasons for this. The first reason is that many cigarette smokers switch to cigars because the latter is believed to be safer. These smokers are accustomed to inhaling the cigarette smoke and do the same with cigars. Another reason is that the cigar makers at present use a different fermentation process which makes it easier for the smokers to inhale the smoke. Statistics show that cigar smokers have 11 times greater chances of dying due to lung cancer compared to non-smokers.

Risks of Oral Diseases

The cigar smoke is absorbed through the tissues located in the lining of the mouth which increases the risks of various oral diseases significantly. Smoking cigar can lead to various dental diseases, tooth loss and gum diseases.

Effects of Secondhand Smoke Due to Cigar Smoking

All the toxic chemicals found in secondhand cigarette smoke are present in secondhand cigar smoke as well. This secondhand smoke can cause cancer and various cardiovascular diseases in adults. It also increases the risks of asthma and ear infection in children. Cigar produces more secondhand smoke as it burns for longer periods of time than a cigarette.

The only way to avoid the serious health conditions caused by nicotine is to give up smoking entirely. It does not help much to turn to cigars from cigarettes as this does not mean that the individual is free from all the bad effects of tobacco. High frequency and intensity of smoking cigars increases the risks of the serious diseases caused by cigar smoking.

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