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Old 04-08-2006, 01:20 PM   #1
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Cigars vs. Cigarettes - Health Analysis

Hello,

I'm very curious about the health comparisons of cigarettes vs. cigars. I understand cigarettes have higher amounts of nicotine, and certainly more additives and chemicals. We all know cigarettes can give heart disease or lung cancer. However, cigars are generally smoked using the mouth only. Granted, there are many cases of mouth cancer as well.

I was wondering if anyone had some resources to post and research studies on the risk of each one. Long term studies would also be useful. How many cigars, and how often would you need to smoke to develop mouth cancer at an early age, if it all? I enjoy cigars, but like all things...too much can be bad. There's a lot of cigar enthusiasts here, and I was curious to what they think of this issue. All I know is, mouth cancer would NOT be fun.

Not scapegoating or attacking cigars specifically. Hell, cell phones supposedly give you cancer.

EDIT: Here's a link I found, says a lot:

http://www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets/html/fact13.html

PLEASE NOTE: Some of these studies may be highly biased and misleading, due to the fact of the website being "against" smoking. They claim they aren't, but I'm skeptical.
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:32 PM   #2
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I quit cigarettes for health reasons. I checked the stats to see how cigars compared. IIRC the risk of lung cancer is negligibly increased in a cigar smoker (over a nonsmoker). Mouth, throat, esophogeal, and a couple of others are about double in a cigar smoker (compared to a nonsmoker), but they are so infinitesmally small to begin with that I didn't worry too much.

Cigarette smokers have several times the risk of cigar smokers in almost all of the related categories. I read somewhere that not holding the cigar in your mouth between drags lowers the risks dramatically. Sorry, don't have time to post a link; I think I googled something like "cancer rates cigar cigarette", something along those lines.

Yes, cigarettes as a rule contain all sorts of fun chemicals. They produce a wide range of nasties when they burn. A premium cigar contains nothing but delicious tobacco!

I couldn't possibly be biased, downplaying the risks to rationalize my own fondness for the leaf... You should try the google search and make sure you feel the same way I do after seeing the actual numbers.
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:37 PM   #3
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Re: Cigars vs. Cigarettes - Health Analysis

Originally Posted by fxscreamer
I was wondering if anyone had some resources to post and research studies on the risk of each one. Long term studies would also be useful. How many cigars, and how often would you need to smoke to develop mouth cancer at an early age, if it all?
Who cares?!?! I knew when I started smoking cigars, that they are "bad" for you, but really, what isn't? Smoking, drinking, eating, sex, and walking across the street are all bad for you. It is just a matter of if and when.

As far as how much, how long, etc, we are all different. George Burns, for instance, was claimed to have smoked over 300,000 cigars in his lifetime. I know of 6 year olds that have died from cancer. You never know! When its my time, see ya all on the other side!!! I have just reached the point with everything going on in my life, with my Dad and all, I have come to the conculsion any day can be your last. I am gonna live how I want, without anybody telling me I am doing bad things to my body. Sorry for the rant.....

The above post is all my opinion. Many will disagree, some will agree. To each their own, Smoke in peace!!!!
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Old 04-08-2006, 01:43 PM   #4
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Re: Cigars vs. Cigarettes - Health Analysis

Originally Posted by Capt
Originally Posted by fxscreamer
I was wondering if anyone had some resources to post and research studies on the risk of each one. Long term studies would also be useful. How many cigars, and how often would you need to smoke to develop mouth cancer at an early age, if it all?
Who cares?!?! I knew when I started smoking cigars, that they are "bad" for you, but really, what isn't? Smoking, drinking, eating, sex, and walking across the street are all bad for you. It is just a matter of if and when.

As far as how much, how long, etc, we are all different. George Burns, for instance, was claimed to have smoked over 300,000 cigars in his lifetime. I know of 6 year olds that have died from cancer. You never know! When its my time, see ya all on the other side!!! I have just reached the point with everything going on in my life, with my Dad and all, I have come to the conculsion any day can be your last. I am gonna live how I want, without anybody telling me I am doing bad things to my body. Sorry for the rant.....

The above post is all my opinion. Many will disagree, some will agree. To each their own, Smoke in peace!!!!
Hehe, nice to know your opinion. Hey, I smoke cigars too, and I've done a LOT more substances than just tobacco. However, there's no harm in asking. Your opinion was fine in the sense that you "don't care about it". I'm just wanting to see what other cigar enthusiasts think about the studies and risks when they look them up. Like anything in life, it's all a risk. I KNOW. I'm not here to debunk anyone's beliefs.

Maybe we should all chill out and smoke a cigar together.
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Old 04-08-2006, 02:18 PM   #5
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I think Capt. makes a good point. At the ripe old age of 48, I have given up cigarettes, more times than I can count. This time however, I took up cigars. The cigars satisfy my craving to smoke something. I have no and I mean NO desire to go back to cigarettes. I think I have finally beaten them.

My father is 80 years old gave up cigs when he was 41. He still developed lung cancer, the kind you get from NOT smoking (large cell vs. small cell???) He has had a lobe removed from each of his lungs.

Now, did I give up one cancer stick for another? Perhaps. But, this is the important thing: I have learned (and am still learning) to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. When did anyone sit down and smoke a cigarette for an hour? You don't. They are a hurry up and puff sport.

I have found I enjoy sitting back at the end of the day with my favorite adult beverage and a cigar and relaxing. Will this, can this give me cancer? Perhaps. But like the good Capt said, I don't care at this point. If something so enjoyable is going to kill me, well, if there is a God up there, he will let me die enjoying something I love.

I hope this makes some sort of sense.
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Old 04-08-2006, 03:13 PM   #6
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Soupwell said it best, and said it right, if you're looking for information on cigarettes vs. cigars. I've done extensive research myself, as well as known a lot of cigar and cigarette smokers personally. No matter what anyone says, there is NO COMPARISON between the potential harm that cigarettes can do compared to cigars. All the most reliable studies say that to even effect a noticeable cancer risk, you'd have to smoke at LEAST two or three Churchill sized cigars a day, and of course, depending on genetics, many will see no increase in risk.

If you're going to be like David Letterman, who readily admits that when he gets an interest in something that he way overdoes it, and was once smoking 20 cigars a day, then you may wish to rethink your life. That's almost impossible, unless you're chain smoking, like John Mellencamp smoking five packs a day. It's so obsessive, it's almost impossible to do. And if you live like that, you're going to run into the same walls that they did.

Otherwise, as I said, no comparison, smoke your cigars in peace, and enjoy them. Remember also, that cigarettes are NOT a true tobacco product, and the reference by news organizations to the major cigarette companies as "the tobacco industry" is a sad misnomer indeed. It gives the real tobacco industry, like the Fuentes, Perdomos, Menendez', and many others in this world a bad name.
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Old 04-08-2006, 03:39 PM   #7
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I spoke with a pulmonologist about cigars. He said that the risk of lung CA goes up over the average population at 28 pack/years. That means you have to smoke 1pack/day for 28 years to have an increased cancer risk. You are right about the increased risk of oral and throat cancer. The studies that I have seen only relate an increased risk of disease if you smoke 3-5 cigars/day. Most cigar smokers take up the pleasure/hobbie/habit much later in life, and likely do not smoke cigarettes. They tend to be better educated and more affluent as well so they tend to see a physician at least once a year.

I also agree with capt.. You can die crossing the street, going to the store etc., but any activity in which you are ingetsting subsatnces into your body should be done in an educated, open eyed manner. I know that cigars are not "healthy" for my mouth and throat, but neither I am far more concerned about being overweight than I am about smoking one cigar a day. My southern baptist preacher's wife mom is not, but I am lol.

That is the awesome thing about living here in the USA. If you want to do somethingk, and it is legal, have at it! At least that is how it should be IMO.

My .02 worth.
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:25 PM   #8
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I think cigars can have a very positive health effect on people. For me smoking a cigar is calming and a great way to sit down and burn off some stress. Millions of people die from stress related illnesses, if I can keep my blood pressure down, heart healthy, and stress down from having a relaxing cigar then I think that is a very positive thing. I am not saying that cigars are the cure all, or that everyone should be smoking, but I do think they serve at least one positive health benifit. I think people overlook stress as a major health concern.
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Old 04-08-2006, 05:34 PM   #9
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Tex, right on. And might I say, you word your point in almost the same exact way that sometime AmBack poster, member of many boards, friend of mine for six years, and all around Cigarmeister, well known around the world DocBarry, words his salient point about cigars. Great post.
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:31 PM   #10
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I went to the doctor a few months ago and was asked by the doctor if I smoked. I said, "Not cigarettes." He looked at me and said, "What then?" I stated that I like an occasional cigar after work or when ever the mood hits. He smiles and said, "Ahh, those don't really count." That was enough for me.

Good post Tex, I agree.

I remember in college that a study came out that said that MILK significantly increased the risk for cancers of the stomach and colon. Later on it was found that the ďstudyĒ was funded by an animal rights organization. I canít remember which one.

If the risk of cancer scares you then donít smoke. Realize that cigarettes are much worse than a cigar.
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Old 04-09-2006, 12:34 PM   #11
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I wish you guys would stop holding back and tell us what you really think (especially Capt)

I found cigars to be a relaxing hobby. Plus, there is so much to learn, and, so many brands to try. I do think it is important to get a check up every year, whether you smoke cigars or not.

thats my$0.02
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:17 PM   #12
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A point I was kind of making was, being an enthusiast in something is great. But that also means you should find out the pros AND cons just for the sake of it. Knowledge never hurt anyone, unless you stole info from the CIA. HAHA.
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:49 PM   #13
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It's always wise to research any life style choice that carries a possible risk which elevates it above the norm in the possible danger factor. For example, I would imagine skydiving would carry more of a risk than playing outdoor chess in a park on the Lower East Side of NYC.

Of course, there are many factors that could go into researching such things, like what's the crime rate at the time when people play outdoor chess on the Lower East Side, rate of motor vehicles careening out of control, etc., versus skydiving accidents due to people getting caught in trees, on power lines, chutes failing to open, backup chutes failing to open, etc., which just did happen to a woman a couple months ago, who miraculously lived.

Fxscreamer has not only done his/her own research, but has also backed it up well, by coming here to talk to people who have done their own research, and have anecdotal experience to draw from as well.
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Old 04-10-2006, 01:54 AM   #14
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Here's my take:


I researched it a bit when I started smoking cigars. A few things I found from studies:

Cigarette smokeers die younger than nonsmokers, and have a much increased chance of certain kinds of cancers.
Cigar smokers and pipe smokers, while having a very slight increase in the chance of certain kinds of cancers, actually lived longer than nonsmokers.

Now, these studies don't take into account all the aspects of the people's lifestyles.

But I figure, than cigar and pipe smoking is generally done as a relaxation activity, and not a frantic "gotta get a nic buzz to make it through the hour" kind of thing. I think it reduces the stress in one's life (just as inbibing certain amounts of alcohol have actually proven to be healthier than not drinking), and reducing that stress reduces your chances of heart attacks, strokes, etc.

Looking at t he statistics, I'm far more likely to die driving to work, or swimming in a pool, than from cigar smoking.

None of us is guaranteed another day, so why not enjoy the ones we have?

Besides, as the Good Book says, don't worry about what might happen tomorrow or next week, each day has enough trouble of its own. (paraphrase)
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:48 AM   #15
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Please do not take what I said as confrontational. I meant no disrespect to FX or others. With all that has been going on lately, I just blew a gasket. Sorry if I came across as an a$$.
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:58 AM   #16
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Whaaaaaaaaaaaat???
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Old 04-10-2006, 06:30 AM   #17
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Not at all. I rather enjoyed your thoughts, they are pretty much the same as my own. While I don't advocate needlessly taking one's life into one's hands, we are all in the process of dying and none of us knows how close we are. (I personally would like to go out in a blaze of glory but thats a whole nuther story).

I enjoy tons of things that the health nazis get all up in a twist about. God gave us many things in life to enjoy, and just because they may not be the "healthiest" things in the world doesn't make it wrong to enjoy them. I refuse to worship at the fountain of worldly youth. I will continue to smoke, drink, box, hunt, shoot, eat large steaks cooked rare, and all the other little blessings which make life liveable. I will continue not to cheat on my wife, use drugs, abandon my kids, steal, etc; not because these things are "unhealthy" but because they are WRONG.

Ok, end rant. I, like the Capt., also came down with a nasty cold so perhaps he is correct that illness does spawn rants of this kind.


All the Best,


Joe
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Old 04-10-2006, 06:43 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by fargo
Not use drugs, abandon my kids, steal, etc; not because these things are "unhealthy" but because they are WRONG.

Joe
While I agree with much of what you said, the whole drug argument is a whole other bag of chips. You talk about methods of non-conforming, which is admirable, but the term "drugs" is an over-generalized and over-stereotyped category. It is often misunderstood by many, and propaganda swarms around it. Drugs such as Nicotine and Caffeine are more harmful to the body than many illegal drugs, but this however is a WHOLE other thread, so let's not go there right now.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:53 AM   #19
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Fxscreamer,

I agree that my statement is very much an overgeneralization, but I trust the members of this board to understand that I am talking about drugs in the line of substances used to alter one's consciousness/rationality without a sufficient reason to do so, ie: simple recreation, escape from reality etc. I have enough friends who have gone down this road and not one of them could be described as remotely happy today.

You are correct that this is a completely different question and that this isn't the thread for discussing it. There is a vast amout of nuance and distinction to the question and it is an area where I believe that reasonable people can certainly disagree.

All the best,


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Old 04-10-2006, 02:06 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Capt
Please do not take what I said as confrontational. I meant no disrespect to FX or others. With all that has been going on lately, I just blew a gasket. Sorry if I came across as an a$$.
Don't know about the others, Capt, but I saw it as a rant against the health nazis trying to legislate our lives away. Didn't see you as being an @$$ at all.



In general: I refuse to live a live I don't like just for the promise of a longer life. I've heard of quite a few people dying young. Were they smokers? Nope. Drinkers? Nope. They were health nuts. Kept themselves in meticulous shape, did everything "right", but die early. The cause? "Natural causes" -- nice term for "he simply stopped working and we don't know why."

I do plenty of healthy things, I lift weights, I walk, I hike, go swimming, but I do them because I like them, not because they are "good for me".

These rants are kinda good for me too!
Time for a Hemingway and scotch.
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