Cigar smoking not a safe alternative

Cigar smoking not a safe alternative
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Cigar smoking not a safe alternative. If you thought smoking cigars is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, you are wrong. New research associates many of the same fatal conditions as cigarette smoking.

If you thought smoking cigars is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, you are wrong. New research associates many of the same fatal conditions as cigarette smoking.Researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carried out a systematic review of studies about cigar smoking and all-cause and smoking-related mortality to gain more comprehensive information about the long-term public health implications of cigar use.

"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 lead researcher Cindy Chang from Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Consumption of cigars in the USA doubled from 6.2 billion cigars in 2000 to more than 13.7 billion in 2011.

This contrasts with a 33% reduction in cigarette consumption over the same period. There is particular concern about cigar use in youth and young adults. The team wanted to examine the health risks to current cigar smokers compared to those who never smoked cigarettes or never used any tobacco, so they excluded any study that involved current cigarette smokers.

As such, 22 studies were analysed that were primarily conducted in the USA, the UK, Canada, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. The authors also report that those who exclusively smoked cigars and had never smoked other tobacco products also had an increased risk of all-cause mortality.

The risk of death from oral, oesophageal and lung cancers was found to increase with inhalation of cigar smoke. Even in those who reported not inhaling cigar smoke, there was an increased risk of death caused by oral, laryngeal and oesophageal cancer. The study was published in open access journal BMC Public Health.

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