Cigar smokers beware. A recent study published in BMC Public Health now reports that smoking cigars is just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the amount of tobacco in one large cigar is equal to one pack of cigarettes, and with 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US in 2012, that is certainly a lot of tobacco! Furthermore, even though there is a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on flavored cigars, there are certain brands which do not fall under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act and thus are still available on the market. This places youth at a higher rate of smoking these products as well as the older male population.
Cindy Chang, PhD, MPH, lead FDA researcher, and colleagues evaluated 22 studies from the 1960s and prior, which included the US, UK, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland. They noted that cigar-only smokers, even noninhalers vs nonsmokers, experienced a higher risk for all-cause mortality, with risks of oral, esophageal, and lung cancers increasing.
"The results reinforce the fact that cigar smoking carries many of the same health risks as cigarette smoking. Cigar smoking is linked to fatal oral, esophageal, pancreatic, laryngeal, and lung cancers, as well as heart disease and aortic aneurysm," said Chang in a press release.
For those who previously smoked cigarettes prior to using cigars experienced a higher risk of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) when compared to cigar-only smokers.
While we are all aware that smoking poses certain health risks, do cigar smokers realize or understand their personal health risks? Have we placed too much emphasis on cigarette smoking that we have somehow forgotten about educating this particular population of smokers? Patients need to be educated on all forms of tobacco use: cigarette smoking, cigar smoking, and smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco).
Do you focus your education efforts on cigarette smoking only?