Common Cigar-Smoking Myths

Do you know the facts about smoking cigars? If you're like many people, you might believe that they're safer than cigarettes. Learn the truth about the dangers of cigar smoking.

Most of us know about the dangers of cigarettes. Unfortunately, when it comes to cigars, many smokers aren't aware of the risks. That's because there are so many myths about cigar smoking.

Myth: Cigars aren't as harmful as cigarettes.

Fact: Smoking cigars can cause some of the same cancers as cigarettes. These include cancers of the lips, tongue, mouth, throat and esophagus. Cigar smoking may also cause cancer of the pancreas. It narrows blood vessels and limits the flow of blood to the heart. This is especially true during exercise and times of stress. Smoking cigars also increases your risks for heart disease and respiratory diseases like emphysema.

Myth: Most cigar smokers don't inhale, so there's no risk of cancer.

Fact: Even if you don't inhale, you are still exposed to cancer-causing ingredients. If you don't inhale, you are still seven to 10 times more likely than nonsmokers to develop cancer of the mouth and throat. You also double your risk for lung cancer, and increase your risk for vocal cord cancer. These risks greatly increase if you inhale.

Myth: Cigars aren't as addictive as cigarettes.

Fact: Because of its size, one cigar can have as much nicotine as several cigarettes. Whether or not you inhale, you still absorb nicotine through the lining of your mouth. Unlike cigarettes, cigars usually don't have filters or tips. This means you absorb nicotine when the cigar comes in contact with your lips - whether or not it's lit.

Myth: Secondhand cigar smoke isn't as harmful to the environment as cigarette smoke.

Fact: Cigar smoke has the same harmful ingredients as cigarette smoke, but at higher levels. They linger in the air much longer than cigarette smoke. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to smoke a cigarette, but an hour or more to smoke a large cigar. Studies show that secondhand smoke increases the risk of cancer, heart attack and heart and lung disease in nonsmokers.




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